Most people know that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a wide range of symptoms. Many news reports about TBIs focus on effects like chronic headaches, sleep problems, nausea, memory loss and confusion. Unless you have experienced a mental illness as the result of a brain injury, you might not know that TBIs can lead to depression and other mental conditions.
Studying traumatic brain injury as a cause of depression
A recent study published in the journal Neurology adds to the growing research showing a link between brain injury and depression. As an article about the study explains, researchers examined middle-aged and senior adults. Some of the subjects reported a history of repeated head injury, mostly from playing contact sports like football when they were younger or being the victims of domestic abuse. Others had no such medical history. Between the two groups, those with multiple head injuries were more likely to test higher on an exam used to diagnose possible depression in older adults.
This shows that a lifetime of head trauma can have long-lasting and serious effects. The study also demonstrates TBI sufferers might not experience all the effects immediately after their injury. With many of the people tested, decades had passed between their last head injury and the onset of depression symptoms.
Brain injury and the unknown
Though scientists have made significant progress in understanding how a blow to the head affects the brain, there is still a lot we do not understand. Anytime someone in Seattle suffers a brain injury, their doctor cannot say for sure how it will affect them or how long their symptoms will last. Their careers and family life could be affected for a long time, perhaps permanently.