Pediatricians may be the first clinician to see a teenager or young adult experiencing psychotic symptoms. A report offers guidance for providing care to these patients in potential crisis.
For many teenagers and young adults with psychotic symptoms, pediatricians are frequently the first clinician to encounter them. In an ideal world, they would be immediately referred to psychiatric care, but the lack of options in some areas mean that pediatricians may have to make the initial assessment or continue care after assessment by a specialist. A report in Pediatrics offered tips to pediatricians to help teenagers and young adults who may be experiencing psychotic symptoms.1
There are a number of common symptoms that a pediatrician may see when initially diagnosing a patient with a psychosis. One is delusions, which may be classified as bizarre, such as the belief that an outside force has put thoughts into the patient’s head, or non-bizarre, such as the patient is being monitored by the police, although no evidence suggests it is happening. Hallucinations are another common symptom, with auditory hallucinations being the most common. Some patients may have disorganized thinking, which can be assessed by listening to the patient’s speech and can include the inability to answer a question or speaking incoherently. There may also be disorganized behavior, including catatonia.
Tips in this report include:
1. Hua L, Committee on adolescence. Collaborative care in the identification and management of psychosis in adolescents and young adults. Pediatrics. May 24, 2021. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1542/peds.2021-051486