Hallucinations, Self Destructive Thoughts May Predict Teen Psychosis Risk

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In adolescents with psychological symptoms, visual distortions and hallucinations are associated with self-destructive thought processes, according to a study from the Helsinki University Hospital in Finland.

The study included 309 adolescents who had participated in the Jorvi Early Psychosis Recognition and Intervention (JERI) research project from 2009 to 2013. Participants completed surveys that measured symptoms of depression, symptoms of psychosis risk, and self-destructive thought processes.

Approximately one-third of the adolescents had self-destructive thought processes, the researchers found. The risk for psychosis symptoms occurred more frequently in those with both psychological symptoms and self-destructive thoughts than in those who only had psychological symptoms.

Participants with risk symptoms of psychosis were also more likely to have symptoms of depression than those with no risk symptoms. Visual distortions and hallucinations had the strongest link to self-destructive behavior, the researchers found.

The results indicated that self-destructive thoughts and psychosis risk symptoms manifest at the same time in adolescents, preceding actual psychosis. If school health providers are attuned to these risk symptoms, they may be better able to detect individuals at high risk for psychosis.

Directly asking adolescents whether they have experienced hallucinations may help detect self-destructive thoughts and behavior, the researchers suggested.

Hallucinations were the strongest indicator of self-destructive thought patterns in adolescents.
Hallucinations were the strongest indicator of self-destructive thought patterns in adolescents.

Visual distortions and hallucinations related to an elevated risk of psychosis are linked to self-destructive thought processes among adolescents with psychological symptoms, tells the recent study conducted at the Helsinki University Hospital, Finland. Early indications of the risk of psychosis can usually be detected long before the onset of a full-blown disorder.

Patients with schizophrenia are known to generally show a higher risk of suicide. Previous research on adolescents with psychological symptoms has also shown that self-destructive thought patterns are more common among those who show a higher risk of psychosis than those who do not show such a risk.

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