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The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Depression

June 12, 2012


Wondering what’s causing your depression? Have any concussions or other forms of brain injury in your past? Well, if you do it might explain the way you’re feeling, because having a brain injury, even a minor one, greatly increases your risks of depression – even years after the fact.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when you get hit, bumped, jolted or pierced severely enough to cause some temporary or permanent change to brain functioning.

  • TBIs can range in severity from mild to severe and can be fatal
  • Mild TBIs cause a momentary loss of consciousness or a temporary change in mental functioning, such as feelings of wooziness, seeing stars, headaches, short term memory loss or feeling confused. About 75% of TBIs are concussions or other forms of mild brain injury. People rarely seek medical care for a mild TBI.
  • More serious TBIs may involve longer periods of unconsciousness or coma and or more severe amnesia

Other TBI facts:

  • Symptoms of TBI may occur right away or they may not emerge until days or even weeks following the injury. Some common TBI symptoms include headaches, difficulties with memory or clear thinking, mood changes, a ringing in the ears, changes to sleeping habits and feelings of fatigue. These symptoms can persist for a long while and TBI can cause depression or anxiety, even years after the fact.
  • Traffic accidents cause about half of all TBIs. Other common causes include getting hit in the head with a hard object, banging your head on the ground or against another hard object or being in close proximity to an explosion (a frequent cause of military TBIs)
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