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    Old 06-01-2005, 10:39 AM   #1
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    Question 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    I realize that mental illness doesn't usually come into play until one is in their teens/20s. However, a good friend's 6-year-old daughter has been displaying some very peculiar behavior that seems almost schizophrenic in nature. I was wondering if anyone's heard of this illness afflicting a child?

    I should start off by saying the girl's father & older brother suffer from mental illness (Bipolar I Disorder). Her father is serving a 10 year sentence in a state prison for a violent crime. They say these illnesses tend to run in families, but the girl's behavior doesn't seem to fit the description of BD.

    One afternoon my friend went to run some errands and left her daughter at home. When she returned about 30 min later she found that her daughter had taped the hands of all of her dolls to their mouths. When she inquired as to why this was done, her daughter said matter-of-factly, "They were telling me to do bad things."

    On a few occasions she found her daughter sitting in the back of a closet shouting out what sounded like gibberish (couldn't make out the words). When she'd try to snap her "out of it" she was unsuccessful, as the girl seemed to be in some kind of trance. Later, the girl confided that she had been hearing voices.

    This behavior seems to be getting more disturbing with time & the episodes are coming more frequently. My friend has made an appointment with a child psychologist to hopefully get to the bottom of this.

    I was wondering if any of you have heard of anything like this. Is it possible for a 6-year-old to have schizophrenia? If not, what could this be?

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    Old 06-01-2005, 02:42 PM   #2
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    Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    it could be a post traumatic stress reaction to what she has seen growing up and her father being in prison, basically it could be down th her environment. Speaking as a psychiatric nurse, other avenues should be looked at first, how she is at school, her friends does she have friends etc. her relationship with her mother or whoever cares for her.

    seeing the psychologist/psychatrist is a good idea

    Old 06-05-2005, 06:10 PM   #3
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    Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    I must say that sounds kind of scary, especially the doll part. I hope she gets the help she needs. There is a rare type of Schizophrenia called childhood-onset schizophrenia. It occurs in 1 out of 40,000 children, and are harder to treat and have a worse prognosis than adult schizophrenia patients. They experience the same hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and voices, trances, etc.
    My advice would be to see a specialist to see what is going on. Someone that is very well-educated in psychiatry, and children. There has to be something going on there.

    Let me know how everything turns out.

    Old 06-28-2005, 02:17 PM   #4
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    Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    Even though it doesn't sound like bipolar disorder, it could be. The fact that her father was bipolar I is very important, as only people with bipolar I, not bipolar II, can experience psychosis. BD isn't common in children either, but it's nowhere near as unusual as childhood schizophrenia. Here's the key factor: what are her delusions? Does she think that she can fly? Does she think that the President's in love with her? If she's not having grandiose delusions, but rather, paranoid delusions such as "My thoughts can be read by the radio," then she probably has schizophrenia. If she's having grandiose delusions, she probably has BD. Also, when you say that she's talking "gibberish," does this mean that she's making up words or that you simply can't understand her because she's talking so fast? The latter suggests bipolar mania.

    Old 06-30-2005, 06:48 AM   #5
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    Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    I started hearing voices at age seven. I would be surprised if it is as rare as 1 in 40,000 children. Although i've never met anyone with the same experience despite alot of interaction with people who suffer similarly.

    It interests me that the six year old knew that she was hearing voices, I did not really realise myself that there was even anything particuarly strange, let alone that it was not real. I just grew up thinking that it was fairly normal to hear unregonisable people talking even if they were not in the same room. I just assumed everyone did, although I was very scared sometimes because I could not see the person who was talking to me. As I got a bit older I did realise it was probably not normal, I did not even admit to my parents (and myself, really) until age eleven (it was more than very obvious to them by then anyway) but my hallucinations NEVER went away completely by themselves until treated with antipsychotics.

    So I don't know if my experience could be too helpful, this girl sounds quite alot different to me. This should definetly not be ignored though. If I had been able to communicate with my parents so long ago I might not have gone to progress to traumatic visual hallucinations and severe depression.

    I didn't suffer from any trauma in my childhood until later on, the only thing my parents have ever said is that my uncle suffered from schizophrenia at a young age, and that there was quite alot of mental illness on my fathers side.

    Old 08-30-2005, 08:47 AM   #6
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    Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    another line of thought is sexual abuse. children often get told not to say anything and also may have an idea that something is wrong.
    maybe the dolls were telling her to do bad things that were sexual and she didnt want them to say anything.
    has anyone asked what the ' bad things' were?

    Old 08-31-2005, 01:24 PM   #7
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    Arrow Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    Yes I would agree, young sexual abuse victims often project onto inanimate objects such as their toys...acting out the behavior on dolls, pretending the dolls are asking them to do acts, etc. This is definitely red-flag behavior and should be checked out immediately. What did the child psychologist have to say?

    Old 09-30-2005, 11:51 AM   #8
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    Re: 6-year-old Child Hearing Voices

    I have a friend who has a son who hallucinated from early childhood. His first grade teacher told her that she thought that he was having hallucinations, but she did not know what to do about it. When he was 12 years old he finally realized that it was not normal to hear voices and he told them. They put him on medications, but after a year and a half he said that he could not stand the medications and asked to stop and his parents said OK. After a year or so his mother started him on orthomolecular treatment, which involves dietary changes and supplements. After 9 months of the ortho treatment with a lot of ups and downs he was pretty much normal and stablized, but he has had one relapse since then when and they used meds to get it under control, but for the most part he is able to live a normal life off medications. He has been doing well most of the time now for two years. More often than not there is not any real trauma involved in mental illness, but it is a good idea to make sure there has not been any abuse if that is a possibility.

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