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Schizophrenia and Autism are two completely different neuro-psychological disorders.


In popular speech term ‘schizophrenic’ is often used to describe any kind of disturbed behavior but in medicine this disorder is defined by using fairly precise diagnostic criteria. Schizophrenia rarely starts before adolescence. The onset of Autism on the other hand, in almost all cases predates age three. The time of onset of a disorder is of crucial importance.

Schizophrenia involves hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder and is extremely rare in children. Autism might relate to a similar process. Both involve activation of phylogenetically earlier developmental brain structures to the partial exclusion of later developmental ones. Unlike schizophrenia, autism may not be physiologically obvious. That’s why diagnosing autism usually requires a complete physical and neurological evaluation . Some experts even say that autism is not a single condition but a group of several distinct conditions that manifest in similar ways. Unfortunately, there is no cure for autism but the good thing is that, with intense medical therapy and schooling, most of the children diagnosed with autism can improve their social and other skills. Although they cannot completely recover, they can fully participate in mainstream education and social events.

Autism and Schizophrenia - overview

Autism is classified as a specific neuro-psychiatric disorder which is characterized by markedly abnormal social interaction, communication ability, patterns of interests, and patterns of behavior. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorders characterized by mental impairments in the perception or expression of reality and by significant social or occupational dysfunction. The specific cause of autism is unknown, but many experts suspect that autism results from genetically mediated vulnerabilities to different environmental triggers.

Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Autism is one of five disorders that fall under the group of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, a category of neurological disorders characterized by severe impairment in several areas of development.

The five disorders under PDD are:

  • Autistic Disorder
  • Asperger's Disorder
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder   
  • Rett's Disorder
  • PDD-Not Otherwise Specified  

Incidence of the Autism

Some experts estimate that autism occurs in as many as one in 166 of children in the USA, however some more serious studies give a more conservative estimate of one in 1000. Although autism is about 3 to 4 times more common in boys, girls with the disorder tend to have more severe symptoms and greater cognitive impairment. Autism knows no racial, ethnic, social boundaries, family income, lifestyle, or educational levels and can affect any family, and any child. Diagnosis is based on a list of psychiatric criteria.

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