The Link Between a Traumatic Brain Injury and Schizophrenia

Traumatic Brain Injury and Schizophrenia

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 20, 2023

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a severe  and rising issue in the United States. In 2010, 2.5 million TBIs occurred as either a single injury or in  combination with other injuries. TBI may be caused by any force that alters the brain’s normal function,  such as a penetrating injury or blunt trauma to the head.

Following a collision, a TBI may vary in severity from a short unconsciousness to protracted periods of  unconsciousness with amnesia.

TBI is linked to “very unfavorable mental health outcomes in up to one-third of survivors,” according to  research. Neuropsychiatric disturbances, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, drug misuse  disorders, personality change, and cognitive impairment, are examples of negative mental health consequences. For many years, however, it was thought that TBI was not a cause of schizophrenia.

It’s vital to highlight that schizophrenia isn’t typically represented appropriately in the media, movies, or television. It is because of these erroneous representations that many people mistake multiple personality disorder with schizophrenia.

Instead, while a split characterizes multiple-personality disorder (now known as Dissociative identity disorder) in the psyche that results in at least two distinct and enduring identities, schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and a failure to recognize what is real (as  depicted in the film). A Beautiful Mind is regarded as a fairly realistic portrayal of the actions of persons suffering from the illness.


New research discovered a link between traumatic brain injury and schizophrenia. There didn’t seem to be a dose-response association between the severity of a head injury and the chance of developing schizophrenia later on (indicating that the severity of the impact likely did not have a causal relationship with the severity of the injury).

The research found evidence to back up the idea that a traumatic brain injury might raise the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. In fact, according to another research, persons who have had a traumatic brain injury “are 1.6 times more likely to develop schizophrenia compared to those who have not.”

The  researchers found that a brain injury “may draw on and destroy neuronal connections, which can have genuine biological implications,” the researchers found.

Suppose you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness, and you feel that person is developing schizophrenia due to the damage. In that case, you should speak  with a certified Colorado attorney.

Once your doctor has given you an initial diagnosis and prognosis for recovery, you should speak with an  expert traumatic brain injury lawyer to see whether someone else’s carelessness caused the damage, whether it happened in a car or motorcycle accident or at a sports event.


Researchers are reexamining the relationship between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and schizophrenia after the publication a new study. According to the findings, those who have had brain damage are more  likely to develop schizophrenia. The issue is exacerbated in people who have a hereditary predisposition to mental illness.


Previous studies on the relationship between TBI and schizophrenia have failed to establish that TBI  causes mental illness. This is because people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia are treated  in a mental health facility. They are seldom seen in head injury clinics.

A total of 600 individuals with a hereditary risk of schizophrenia were included in this investigation. At least two relatives of these individuals had been diagnosed with the condition.

Some of the individuals  had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Researchers discovered that people with schizophrenia were three times more likely than other patients to previously have a head injury.


Some people may ask whether schizophrenia caused the head injury rather than the other way around.  The researchers differ because this study looked at head traumas in both diagnosed and undiagnosed  people with a risk of schizophrenia.

Prior head traumas were substantially more common in the group with a mental disorder. As a result, many people believe that sustaining a head injury increases the likelihood of having a mental illness.

Another reason to assume this is based on a 1,300-person patient study. Others had at least two first- degree relatives with bipolar illness and were genetically predisposed to schizophrenia.

According to the research, the number of past head injuries in the schizophrenia group was substantially greater than in  the bipolar group. Individuals who are already genetically predisposed to schizophrenia are more likely to have brain damage due to this.


Some researchers continue to argue that head injury is not the cause of schizophrenia. They feel that mental illness increases the risk of a head injury. This might be because most schizophrenia patients have a serious loss of attention.

Patients with poor attention skills may not respond as rapidly to a fall as someone with stronger attention abilities. This inattentiveness or slowness to respond may result in accidents or injuries,

particularly head injuries from falls. Not only is a loss of attention one of the most prominent symptoms  of schizophrenia, but it is also one of the first symptoms that leads to a diagnosis.

The results add to the debate over the role of hereditary and environmental factors in the development of psychotic illnesses. For many years, mental health research has focused on the biological factors that  cause conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression. Still, there is now  mounting evidence that these conditions cannot be fully understood without first looking at individual  patients’ life experiences.

The study, led by researchers from Liverpool and Maastricht University in the Netherlands, is the first of its kind to compile and analyze data spanning more than 30 years of research on the link between childhood trauma and psychosis development.

The researchers combed over 27,000 research papers to  extract data from three types of studies: those examining the progress of children exposed to adversity, studies of randomly selected members of the population, and studies of psychotic patients who were asked about their early childhood.

The findings of all three kinds of study led to identical conclusions. Compared to children who were chosen at random from the community, those who had suffered any sort of trauma before the age of 16 were nearly three times more likely to become psychotic in adulthood.

Researchers discovered a link between the severity of childhood trauma and the chance of getting sick later in life. Those who had  been badly traumatized as youngsters were at a higher risk, up to 50 times higher risk than those who  had been traumatized to a lesser degree.

In addition, the Liverpool team undertook second research that looked at the link between certain  psychotic symptoms and the sort of childhood trauma. They discovered that various types of trauma resulted in varied symptoms.

For example, childhood sexual abuse was linked to hallucinations, whereas  growing up in a children’s home was linked to paranoia. The findings also point to a substantial link between the environment and the onset of psychosis and hint at the processes that lead to serious mental disease.

Professor Richard Bentall of the Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society at the University said: “Psychiatrists, psychologists, and physicians are divided about the origins of psychotic diseases,  including schizophrenia.

There is also a dispute on the definition of illnesses. For example, it’s very  uncommon for a patient to be diagnosed with schizophrenia by one psychiatrist. Still, bipolar by another ” Our results imply that include a patient’s life experiences in research on the neurological and genetic  components connected with these illnesses, which are yet unknown, will help us expand our  understanding.

We need to know, for example, how early trauma impacts the growing brain, as well as if

there are hereditary variables that promote sensitivity or resistance to traumatic events. \s” New research methodologies, such as studies comparing traumatized youngsters who grow up to be mentally  well against those who acquire a mental illness, will be required to answer these concerns. Looking at the brain or genes alone is unlikely to teach us what we need to know to successfully treat a patient.”

“Now that we know that the environment plays a big role in psychosis and that there are clear linkages between certain events and symptoms, it’s even more important for psychiatric services to ask patients

about their lives. Surprisingly, several psychiatric teams ignore these difficulties in favor of focusing only  on drug treatment.”

The psychological and neurological mechanisms involved in the relationships between various forms of trauma and specific psychotic symptoms will now be investigated by Liverpool researchers. Future  studies will look at why symptoms of psychosis may only appear later in life, even if the underlying  trigger might have occurred many years ago in infancy.


Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, is dedicated to learning about the medical aspects of traumatic brain injury to get proper compensation for victims. Please contact us at 719-300-1100 to help you with a free case review and consultation about a traumatic brain injury.

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