Traumatic Brain Injury Linked to Increased Risk of Suicide

TBIs Can Lead to Increased Risk of Suicide

According to a recent study, individuals who suffer a traumatic brain injury may be at an increased risk of suicide. The brain is responsible for almost all of the body’s functions. This includes emotions, personality, judgment, and inhibition. These character traits are controlled by various lobes of the brain, such as the frontal lobe. If someone suffers a TBI, these parts of the brain might be damaged. If these centers are damaged, emotions and personality might be altered. This may place someone at an increased risk of developing mental health problems such as depression, which might eventually lead to a suicide attempt. This possibility was put to the test by a team of researchers who recently published their findings. Fortunately, with proper treatment, mental health disorders following a TBI can be managed effectively.

A Retrospective Review of Medical Records

A group of scientists at the Colorado University School of Medicine conducted a retrospective review of medical records of nearly 1.5 million individuals. These patients sought medical care over a 10-year period. The researchers combed the medical records looking for information related to traumatic brain injuries. Some of the data that they reviewed included:

  • The severity of the TBI that the individual suffered, which may range from mild to severe.
  • The possible development of any psychiatric medical conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or anxiety.
  • Any other health conditions which may include heart problems, kidney disorders, diabetes, and more.

After sorting these conditions, the researchers looked for individuals who had passed away since the time of that visit. Finally, the researchers categorized individuals who had died via suicide.

Comparing the Traumatic Brain Injury Group to the Control Group

After finding individuals who had suffered a traumatic brain injury and then committed suicide, the researchers compared this group to the control group. The control group was made up of people who had committed suicide but did not have a TBI. They discovered that those who had suffered a TBI were about 2.5 times more likely to die via suicide when compared to the control group.

This information is striking and highlights the need for comprehensive healthcare for individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. In addition to physical therapy and medical care from neurologists, those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury also need to have access to mental health resources. A head injury can lead to the development of severe depression, which may increase the risk of suicide. Therefore, mental health treatment options need to be highlighted.

Mental Health, Suicide, and Traumatic Brain Injury

Medical research dating back more than 150 years has demonstrated a link between traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues. Over time, the understanding of mental health issues and head injuries has evolved. Disruptions in multiple parts of the brain, including the amygdala and hippocampus, can lead to the development of a major depressive disorder. Some of the treatment options include:

  • Counseling: The mainstay of depression treatment is a combination of counseling and medical therapy. Counseling can help individuals find the root of their depression, identifying the causes. Then, trained therapists can help individuals find ways to overcome or circumvent these challenges, helping them find new ways to enjoy life.
  • Medication: Over the past few decades, the pharmacologic treatment options for depression have evolved. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first-line treatment for depression. Medications like Sertraline and Celexa have proven effective in the treatment of depression.

Depression, when treated effectively, can reduce the frequency of suicide attempts. This is good news for those with a loved one who has been diagnosed with a TBI. More research is needed into the treatment of depression, specifically in the case of traumatic brain injuries. This can lead to an improved quality of life for not only the individual but also his or her loved ones.

Watch YouTube Video: 7 Signs Someone is at Risk of Suicide. The following video explains what to look for in someone who is at risk of suicide.

San Francisco Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an SF Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer. Depression and suicide are major issues that must be addressed following a traumatic brain injury. Should you or a loved one suffer a TBI in a traumatic event due to the negligence of another individual or entity, reach out to me at (415) 805-7284 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

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