Depression is a common symptom from a traumatic brain injury following an auto or motorcycle accident. I have represented many clients over the years who have suffered depression resulting from a head injury. Sadly, this condition can have a devastating effect on one’s life.
Symptoms of Depression
It is probably the most frequently treated psychiatric disorder. A variety of bodily complaints generally accompany dysthymia, such as appetite disturbance, problems in concentrating, sleep disorder, fatigue, and other conditions. Depression can mimic, or perhaps cause, physical illness.
A major depressive episode occurs when there is a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities that persists for a period of at least two weeks. As distinct from dysthymia, these symptoms always represent a change from a previous level of functioning. Furthermore, such symptoms persist throughout much of the day, virtually every day. Physical
disturbances are more protean and more severe than in dysthymia. Significant changes in weight, sleep, activity, and energy are prominent. Such individuals have a sense of hopelessness and guilt, so that suicide is a major complication of the disorder.
Of most relevance to the clinician concerned with the evaluation of patients who have sustained closed head injuries is the fact that difficulties in thinking and concentrating (thus, cognitive impainnent) are very prominent. A diagnosis of a major depressive episode is made only if it cannot be established that an organic factor (such as a closed head injury) initiated and maintained the disturbance. In spite of this fact, some neuropsychologists and many physicians may not recognize the role of a major depression in contributing to the cognitive impairment of a person who has sustained a mild head injury (postconcussion syndrome). Because poor concentration, distractibility, and inattentiveness are hallmarks of a major depressive episode, and because these complaints invariably also accompany postconcussion syndrome, care should be exercised before it is concluded that the depression is due solely to trauma-induced brain tissue changes.
If you or someone you love has been in an accident and is experiencing depression, don’t ignore it. Seek help. The cause may be a brain injury that has gone undetected and un-diagnosed.
If you have been hurt in an accident not your fault, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.