Why do so many brain injury victims suffer from depression?

When West Virginia accident victims suffer from a brain injury, the effects they experience often depend on the severity, location and cause of the trauma, states the Brain Injury Association of America. Although the consequences of traumatic brain injuries are highly variable, one effect that many TBI victims suffer from is depression.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, approximately one out of every 10 people who do not have a TBI will have depression. Comparatively, for every 10 people with a brain injury, approximately three of them will have depression.

The link between brain injuries and depression

Researchers are unable to determine if factors like the victim's gender, age or the area of the brain that was injured make the development of this mental illness more likely to occur, states the DHHS. Additionally, researchers do not know how quickly a brain injury victim will become depressed after involvement in an accident that was caused by wrongful conduct. Some brain injury victims will become depressed shortly after the accident, while it may take a year or more for other TBI Victims to experience the symptoms of depression.

The symptoms of depression

According to the DHHS, there are many symptoms that could indicate a person is depressed. For example, a TBI victim may be depressed if he or she:

  • Increases his or her reliance on controlled substances like alcohol or tobacco
  • Experiences feelings of despair, sadness or hopelessness throughout the majority of his or her day
  • Contemplates committing suicide
  • Starts sleeping more or less than usual
  • Loses interest in previously enjoyed activities, such as spending time with friends and family members or participating in a hobby
  • Eats more or less than usual

After an accident, a TBI victim may not be able to tell if he or she is experiencing these symptoms. For this reason, a person with a TBI should consider asking his or her friends or family members if they have noticed any of these signs.

Available treatment options

Depression is usually treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy or through a combination of both of these treatment options. Both antidepressants and psychotherapy have been proven to be helpful for people who have depression. However, it is not known how these treatment methods specifically affect TBI victims.

Those who suffer from a TBI in West Virginia often have concerns about how the effects of their injury will impact their daily life, especially if they become depressed. If you were injured in an accident and sustained a TBI, reach out to an attorney to determine what legal steps you should take next.