The Hidden Side Effect Of Traumatic Brain Injury
When you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after an accident, the impact can be life changing. You may see a decline in cognitive and physical abilities that will alter your lifestyle forever. Beyond these life-altering consequences, there is one side effect of traumatic brain injuries that is often not discussed: The impact on your mental health and well being. Many TBI patients suffer severe depression and are at a higher risk for suicide. These invisible side effects can be devastating to you and your family.
How Common Is Depression After A TBI?
A 20-year study of TBI patients showed that ½ of all patients will experience depression within the first year of the accident. That rate goes up within the first five years after to ⅔ of all patients. More than half of all TBI patients will also experience anxiety disorders and panic attacks. What’s worse is that TBI patients also experience high rates of suicidal ideation of 7-10% and nearly 2% of all TBI patients try to commit suicide. These rates are significantly higher than individuals who have no experience TBI.
What Causes Depression After A TBI?
There are many factors that cause depression after a TBI accident and vary greatly among patients depending on the severity and type of TBI. These factors include:
- Physical damage to the brain many injure the areas that regulate or control emotions
- Chemical changes in the brain from TBI that impact neurotransmitters
- Emotional response to the injury or lifestyle changes
- Injury can negatively impact preexisting depression and anxiety issues
Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
If you or a loved one have had a TBI, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. Unlike the physical damage of TBI, some of these signs may be missed by your healthcare professional. So it is important to keep an out for them so you can get help. Some of the most common signs of depression include:
- Changes in mood that include sadness, anxiety, apathy, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and mood swings
- Irregular sleeping patterns like excessive sleepiness, restless sleep, or insomnia
- Weight loss or gain, excessive hunger, or loss of appetite
- Lack of concentration, fatigue, or restlessness
- Excessive crying, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, or thoughts of suicide
- Behavioral changes like social isolation, irritability, or excessive crying
How To Get Help For TBI-Related Depression
If you or your loved one experiences any of the symptoms of depression, they need to seek professional treatment immediately before the condition worsens. First talk to your primary care physician to see if your injury has impacted your neurotransmitters or emotional processing capability. From there they can diagnose and treat the physical causes of your depression. If instead your depression is a result of adjustment issues, they will refer you to psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment and counseling. The best avenue for TBI patients is to go to a comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation program to address all of the side effects of TBI from coping with physical limitations to dealing with any mental health issues that may come up.
How A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Treating depression after a TBI accident is just one of the many long-term costs of TBIs. A qualified personal injury attorney understands all the side effects of a TBI and will make sure that the cost for mental health treatments are factored into your insurance settlement. Our attorneys at , Goldman, Babboni, & Walsh have over 150 years of combined experience helping clients negotiate TBI settlements and we can make sure that every possible side effect, including depression, is covered. So call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you get a fair settlement for your TBI.