Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Seeing numbers - please help

My son who is 13 has been “seeing Numbers” for years now. He would usually wake up in the middle of the night, almost as if he’s in an altered state and physically sees things that aren’t there and is terrified. He would cry about seeing big numbers, in the trillions and that they were “sooooo big mommy why are they so big” and say they were “moving so fast” and so today he came to me in the middle of doing the dishes, complete awake and alert, not coming from sleep like in the past, and said he saw the numbers again for a second and then they went away. He was able to describe it better. That they were very large numbers like in the trillions, that they move very fast, sometimes the color of the rainbow and other times white, he sees a specific number 5,071 in the sky sometimes and then they just go away but he can’t shake them and they numbers keep running through his mind … he described it being like Pi… the 3.14******** bunch of numbers going on and on … that’s what he sees. Can anyone relate or give me any insight to this? Please?? Thank you!

Hi Sarah,

I am sorry your son is experiencing such a stress. We all know how difficult this can be for parents. Step one is always consulting your pediatrician for any physical explanation. You might have to insist a bit, we do a lot of advocating for our family members. Best wishes, hope

Hi Sarah , Im sorry to hear your stresses , i would definitely consult with a psychiatrist .

There is a condition called synesthesia that causes visual anomalies similar to this. Visual hallucinations related to schizophrenia are relatively rare, although some people have vivid ones.

I follow a YouTuber who as an aside mentioned she had synesthesia where she sees specific numbers and words in different colors. There was also an episode of Criminal Minds which featured synesthesia. I’m unclear whether the condition creates hallucinations without stimulus, but my understanding is that classic synesthesia is more misperception or augmented perception. Might be worth mentioning to a neurologist.

Here’s a link that describes the condition:

Edit: P.S. While schizophrenia sometimes develops in childhood teens, it’s relatively rare. Onset is more common in early twenties in males, and later in females.

Disclaimer: While I am a part-time caregiver of my brother and father with SMI, I was diagnosed with SZA over thirty years ago. I’m an advocate of appropriate drug treatments for SMI, but I feel they are incomplete treatments and additional CBT, supportive talk and psychosocial therapies are helpful where feasible. Any drug advice is from personal experience or research and not a substitute for qualified Psychiatric care.

My first thought exactly, synesthesia. I’d see the pediatrician first to rule out any medical issues, bloodwork to check chemical and hormone levels, then ask them to refer you to a neurologist. You may have to insist. As Hope said, advocating is essential.

I have heard of this before.
The young girl in a documentary series about a family w 2 shiz. kids ( sorry , the name escapes me now) saw numbers all the time. Some were “good” numbers and some were “bad.”

Hi, I just wanted to say that my son started seeing and hearing things around that age, or a little younger. He is 16 now, and tends to get diagnosed with having a mood disorder with psychotic symptoms.

It can be hard to find adolescent psychiatrists who are used to this kind of thing. A NAMI group might be helpful with that. I called around to lots of university programs and finally got a good recommendation. Right now we have a doctor who will text back and forth with me between appointments, which is so helpful.
It might go away again for a while, but if it doesn’t, a good psychiatrist will probably be able to help.

Best wishes to you and your son! You are not alone.