Depression and Traumatic Brain Injury

doctor analyzing brain injuryResearchers and health care providers recognize traumatic brain injury victims often experience depression. Symptoms of depression or other mental illness occurs because of brain damage or the life changing consequences following the dramatic event. One study, conducted by physicians, indicated that over 53% of TBI suffers also endure depression within the first year following injury. Another study, examining post combat effects of Iraq and Afghan veterans in the state of Virginia, concluded that out of those individuals who sustained brain injury, 66% exhibited MDD or major depressive disorder.

Brain Tissue Trauma Causes Depression

Brain tissue injury occurs when a person experiences direct trauma along with subsequent swelling, and fluid accumulation. Type of behavioral and mood symptoms depend on the nature and severity of the injury in addition to location and size of the traumatized region. Scientific studies indicate brain damage related depression and other mental illness occur in one of two ways. The areas of the brain governing behavior and emotion endure damage, or cognitive impairments produce altered interpretations of a situation. Those particularly susceptible to this type of depression are persons who endure tissue damage to the frontal or temporal lobes.

Though injury resulting in loss of consciousness indicates trauma, individuals may experience Post Concussion Syndrome, where no loss of consciousness occurs, but victims exhibit many mood disorders. The majority of depression sufferers recover over time as the brain tissue heals. Others endure life lasting problems with a varied number experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms later on. Some TBI victims do not develop behavioral or mood symptoms until long after the injury occurs. Symptoms resulting from frontal or temporal lobe injuries include:

  • Aggression
  • Impulsivity
  • Anger
  • Increase or decrease in sexual desire
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Disinhibition and reckless behavior
  • Sadness
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Sleep disorders from lethargy to insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Violence
  • Depression Resulting from Life Altering Conditions

Understandably, victims of traumatic brain injury experience depression due to many life-altering circumstances. Depression occurs from the loss of cognitive, sensory or physical abilities. Chronic pain associated with some TBI injuries also leads to an altered emotional state. Individuals become frustrated because therapeutic results are too slow or unrealistic progress does not materialize. Victims personally feel a sense of failure, guilt and stress resulting from loss of employment. Persons may feel they are unjustly burdening loved ones. The TBI might prohibit individuals from participating in once loved family or recreational activities.

Treatment for Depression

Traumatic brain injury victims suffering depression for neurological or non-neurological reasons receive similar treatment. Health care providers specializing in TBI, provide counseling or medication. Some patients experience symptomatic relief after participating in structured activities or by implementing an aerobic exercise program. Other TBI patients engage in alternative treatments including biofeedback, hypnosis, or relaxation therapy.

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If you or someone you love suffers from TBI, you know that therapies and treatments for the injury and associated emotional problems is costly. Contact our office for a free evaluation to determine if you are eligible to file a claim that can help pay for these expenses.

One thought on “Depression and Traumatic Brain Injury

  1. samuel markham

    i am a truck driver and fell while getting out of my truck due to loose ferring(which i told international to fix but they didn’t)i hurt my lower back and hit my head.i’m experiencing severe headaches,dizziness and nausea.i’m in the process of physical therapy(back)and have an appointment to see an neurologist on 10/21/10 for my head.i had a cat scan and was told everything looked fine but my problems still persist.if theres anyway you can help me please feel free to call me at (901)251-9176…

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