Epilepsy Risk Higher with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Epilepsy Risk Higher with TBIOver one million people experience a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States. One of the most common effects from a brain injury is epilepsy, and seizures are reported in up to 50% of traumatic brain injury survivors. The neurological effects may range from severe paralysis and mental impairment to behavioral changes and post-traumatic stress disorder.

When the brain is injured, the neurological pathways become damaged and the electrical function of the brain malfunctions, causing a seizure. It becomes extremely difficult for those who have survived a traumatic brain injury to return to their lives and employment when they are faced with the challenge of living with epilepsy.


According to the International Brain Injury Association, “Patients with traumatic brain injury have a 29-fold increased risk of developing epilepsy compared to the general population.”** This risk is third, following brain tumor and subarachnoid hemorrhage. It is important to note that the risk for epilepsy after a traumatic brain injury is directly linked to the severity of the injury.

If a traumatic brain injury is experienced, the individual may experience seizures in as little as 24 hours after the injury occurs. However, there is often a latent period in which no signs or symptoms of epilepsy are present. In fact, this period of time may be as long as several years. In this case, diagnosis of epilepsy due to a traumatic brain injury becomes quite difficult, and the effects become harder to treat.

Long-Term Risk

Studies are currently being conducted to determine the risk of epilepsy in relation to the time frame of the traumatic brain injury. An individual has a high risk of experiencing seizures shortly after the injury occurs, yet just how long the risk lasts has yet to be determined.

In one particular study**, it was found that the risk of epilepsy increased after mild and severe brain injuries, as well as skull fractures, and increased more than 10 years after the injury occurred. The risk for epilepsy also increased with age, and was slightly higher in women than in men. Patients who already had a family history of epilepsy also had a higher risk of epilepsy after mild and severe brain injuries.

Another study concluded that children with no prior psychiatric history were at an increased risk for psychiatric illness, particularly hyperactivity, three years after suffering a mild traumatic brain injury. In children who had previous psychiatric illnesses, no additional risk increase was present.


Those who are suffering from epilepsy may benefit from taking conventional antiepileptic drugs. However, these medicines may only help control the seizures and do not completely prevent future ones from occurring.

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If you or someone you know has experienced a traumatic brain injury and is now suffering from epilepsy, call our office. We have experienced, knowledgeable attorneys who are willing to provide a free consultation and to get you the financial payment you deserve. We will see to it that you are fully compensated for any past medical expenses, pain, and suffering, as well as any surgeries or procedures that may you may need in the future.

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