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Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Cause Depression?

Man goes into an MRI machine for a brain scan after a traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be a life-changing event. Not only can it cause physical and cognitive impairments, but it can also cause mental health issues such as depression.

In fact, research suggests that sustaining a TBI may be a risk factor for developing depression later in life. If you or someone you know has suffered a TBI, it's important to be aware of the potential for depressive symptoms and seek help from a mental health professional if needed.

TBI Can Cause a Wide Range of Physical, Cognitive, and Emotional Problems

TBI is a type of physical injury to the brain. It can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by an object penetrating the skull. It can also be caused by a movement of the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth, which can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, or cause chemical changes in the brain, or cause stretching or tearing of brain cells.

Depending on the facts of each individual injury, a TBI can cause physical, cognitive, and emotional problems that require medical treatment and rehabilitation. In some cases, this may involve a lengthy process of therapy and medication in order to restore as much of the person’s pre-trauma cognitive functionality. People who suffer from TBI may experience the following:

  • Changes in behaviors or emotions
  • Difficulty with decision-making or problem-solving
  • Impaired communication skills
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased memory capacity
  • Fatigue

It is essential for any person suffering from TBI to receive access to effective treatments in order to return as close as possible to their quality of life prior to the injury and/or to learn the skills needed to cope with their deficits.

Depression is One of the Most Common Psychological Problems Following TBI

TBI can have a devastating effect on an individual's emotional well-being. Mental health issues such as depression are among the most prevalent problems faced by those who have experienced a TBI.

There are a variety of things that contribute to the prevalence of depression in TBI patients which vary from person to person. Depression can result because of damage to the parts of the brain that control emotions or can be an emotional response to the injury and the resulting deficits a person has.

Clinical studies suggest that about half of individuals who have sustained a TBI develop at least one depressive symptom within the first year after the injury, which is double the rate of symptoms found in individuals without TBI. Similarly, over half of those with TBI who are depressed also experience severe anxiety.

Symptoms of depression associated with TBI can be managed with professional help and treatment plans that encompass psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacology regimens. With the right treatment and support, a person who has sustained a TBI has the best chance to manage their depressive symptoms and lead meaningful and productive lives despite their challenges.

We Can Help Victims of TBI

If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident and is experiencing symptoms of depression, you may be eligible for compensation. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we understand the physical and emotional consequences of TBI and can help you pursue justice.

Our attorneys have experience in helping victims of TBI get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages they may be entitled to. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.

Call our Los Angeles attorneys at (866) 634-4525 or contact us online to get in touch with someone from our team about the details of your case right away. We will fight to recover your full and fair compensation.