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Can a brain injury lead to depression?

There are many easily detectable effects of a traumatic brain injury, such as communication issues, behavioral problems and difficulty with memories. One aspect that may not be as obvious is depression. Emotional disorders are frequent among patients with TBI and should be taken seriously.

A report in Psychology Today details two studies in which researchers evaluated how brain injuries and emotional problems are connected. Among the findings were that 60 percent of people living with TBI had alexithymia, which means that they have trouble either communicating how they feel or even recognizing the feelings they have.

The problem starts when the brain suffers damage in an area where emotions are processed, such as the frontal cortex. Researchers from the studies reported that the resulting conditions not only have an effect on recovery, but can also detract from the victim’s quality of life.

A study published in the National Institutes of Health found that 33 percent of people who suffered a TBI developed a major depressive disorder within a year of the injury. Depression is an especially dangerous side effect of TBI because it can lead to someone having suicidal thoughts. If you know someone who has suffered a brain injury, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms of depression: 

  •        A withdrawal from usual activities or people
  •        Trouble concentrating
  •        Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  •        Feeling guilty or worthless

If you believe someone you love may suffer from depression, you should immediately consult a medical professional.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

 

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