Based on a case study analysis and literature review, researchers suggest an approach involving early intervention and more aggressive treatment to help prevent violence in adolescents experiencing paranoid delusions. The research poster was presented on Tuesday, May 25 during the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting.
Paranoid delusions are exaggerated fears of others in a person’s mind that may impair functioning at school and work and in personal relationships. The possibility exists that when anger escalates in the mind of an adolescent experiencing paranoid delusions, it may erupt at some point into violent behavior. The case report describes an adolescent homicide that could potentially have been prevented by providing earlier psychiatric care. The case involved a 16-year-old female with paranoid ideations that built until she killed her younger sister.
The researchers recommend an approach to help prevent crimes that focuses on early interventions and more aggressive treatment. Because the first medical professional who may become aware of problems is often a primary care provider, the treatment approach was developed to be useful to to pediatricians, family practitioners, and other primary care providers.
The researchers suggest that the family should be educated about the child’s paranoid ideation and associated aggressive behavior with a focus on improving the overall insight of the family and the patient about the psychosis. They also suggest clinicians gain more clinical history about the paranoia in order to help patients improve their reality testing.