A new study regarding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and schizophrenia has researchers taking a second look at the link between TBI and schizophrenia. The study shows that those who suffer a brain injury may also be at a higher risk for schizophrenia. The problem is worse in patients with a genetic risk for the mental disorder.
Past research on the link between TBI and schizophrenia has not been able to prove that TBI causes mental disease. This is because those diagnosed with schizophrenia are treated in the mental health system. They rarely arrive in clinics that treat head injuries.
This study group was made of 600 patients with a genetic risk for schizophrenia. These patients had at least two relatives diagnosed with the disease. Some patients were already schizophrenic. Researchers found that those already diagnosed with schizophrenia were three times more likely to have prior head injuries than the other patients.
A Link or Cause?
Some may wonder if schizophrenia made the head injury more likely and not the other way around. Researchers from this study disagree because the study looked at head injuries in both diagnosed and undiagnosed patients with a risk for schizophrenia. The group with the mental illness had a much higher number of prior head injuries. This leads to the belief that experiencing a head injury increases the risk of developing the mental disorder.
Another reason to believe this comes from a 1,300-person study of patients. Some were at genetic risk for schizophrenia and others had at least two first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder. The study showed that the number of prior head injuries in the schizophrenic group was much higher than in the bipolar group. This makes it more likely that individuals already at genetic risk for schizophrenia are also more likely to have a brain injury.
Some researchers still believe the head injury does not trigger the schizophrenia. They believe that the mental disease can make head injury more likely. This may come from the severe lack of attention that most schizophrenic patients have.
Patients may not react as quickly to a fall as someone with better attention skills. This lack of attention or slowness to react could lead to accidents or injuries, especially head injuries in falls. Not only is lack of attention one of the biggest signs of schizophrenia, it is among the first symptoms that lead to patients being diagnosed with the disease.
If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury and may be suffering from schizophrenia, contact our office. Our experienced, caring attorneys will do everything they can to make sure that you are fully compensated for any past or future medical bills, as well as any pain or suffering or loss of income incurred due to this injury. Contact us now for your free consultation and evaluation.