Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Schizophrenia from a TBI? Is it possible?

My grandma suffers from a TBI however they can not figure out anything is wrong with her medically for her to be saying people are following her. She also talks to my grandfather who passed away in March. She sees numbers and thinks there are messages for her in numbers that someone is trying to tell her something. She prays none stop for forgiveness for anything she has done wrong in her life. The color blue bothers her. My mother has schizophrenia and I have guardianship over her. I see a lot of the same things my grandmother is doing from my mom. Although my grandmother is from my dads side of the family. They have done MRI’s and scans on my grandmother and they say she doesn’t have dementia and is perfectly healthy. Could she at a late age have schizophrenia? She is now not eating because she says it’s not safe.

Technically no.

Schizophrenia is diagnosed when medical conditions which could cause the symptoms are ruled out.

Now I am a psychology major not a premed so I don’t know much about traumatic brain injury other than yeah tumors and crap like that can cause psychotic symptoms but they’re not schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is actually a distinct neurodevelopmental disorder.

How long ago did she have her TBI? I know another poster on here says her husband began having symptoms after a TBI. Mine was seriously worsened by a major concussion. I don’t think it technically counts as schizophrenia, but rather some other psychotic disorder. Not that the semantics matter. The treatment is still basically the same. Is she able to get on antipsychotics?

It’s been about a month. She has had several tests but they are unable to figure out why these things are happening. I believe she needs a antipsychotic medicine.

It seems possible that it is. Here is a little reading on the topic:

By comparing the injured people’s risk of developing the disorders with the rest of the study population, they found that those with head injuries were: 65 percent more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.


This meta-analysis supports an increased risk of schizophrenia following TBI, with a larger effect in those with a genetic predisposition to psychosis.


Rather than continue a bunch of conjecture based on inadequate – even if fascinating and suggestive – data, why don’t you tell me where your grandma lives, and let’s see if I can come up with a list of trained professionals there who can diagnose the actual circumstances with a much higher degree of accuracy? :grinning:

Anna, Ohio closest big cities are Lima or Dayton


All say they treat sz per se.

I think it may be possible but this would be a very late onset for schz. My mom also has a TBI from a bad fall in 02. She lost memory, and a lot of cognition she cant add numbers any more or do anything complicated, She also completely lost her sense of taste resulting in massive weight loss, and developed a seizure disorder. So you never know with the human brain. Interestingly enough some of the meds used to treat her TBI and siezures are the same ones my son took for his sza disorder. So maybe there is something that can help her with all of this. My mom is doing pretty well on her meds.

It is a well-known risk factor. Unsure if it is enough on it’s own though.

I’m not sure that a brain scan is a sure fire way to know if someone has dementia……

One other possibility to think about, the elderly don’t react the same way to medications that younger people do. Sometimes when an older person goes on a new med it can cause all kinds of trouble. Did she start a new med at about that same time? Your pharmacist could be a good person to ask if the meds she’s taking could cause dementia or psychosis like symptoms in the elderly. Sometimes the pharmacist will know more than the doctor on that count, or a geriatric doctor.

One way or the other, it sounds like you need a specialist, geriatric psych or neurology.