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Severe Depression and Anxiety After a Head Injury

Feb 17th, 2022

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not always fatal, but they can change a person’s life dramatically. The symptoms can be far-reaching, from impaired memory and personality changes to hindered cognitive function and mobility. Additionally, it’s remarkably common for TBI victims to suffer from anxiety and depression after their head injury. In fact, at least half of TBI victims experience depression within the first twelve months of their injury–and up to two-thirds experience it within seven years!

Suffice it to say, if you’re having symptoms of anxiety and depression in the wake of your TBI, you’re not alone. Let’s explore some ways you can manage these symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Why Do Head Injury Victims Suffer Depression and Anxiety?

If you’re experiencing anxiety or severe depression after a TBI, those symptoms likely stem from one of three causes, and possibly a combination of these:

  1. The accident has caused physical damage to the areas of your brain that control your emotions;
  2. You are experiencing emotional trauma or a strong sense of loss from the accident itself; and/or
  3. You were already prone to depression/anxiety, and the TBI has triggered or amplified those responses.

In some cases, doctors might not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your emotional and mental change right away. This lack of understanding might leave you feeling frustrated, alone, or insecure—and this could further exacerbate any anxiety or depression symptoms you’re already experiencing.

Keys to Managing Depression or Anxiety Triggered by a TBI

For TBI victims whose injuries or symptoms seem mild, they may be able to manage episodes of depression and anxiety through basic self-care techniques such as exercise, eating right, and mindfulness practices. However, since victims of head injuries often struggle with physical injuries and/or chemical imbalances, these strategies may not be enough to help them cope, and they may need more help. Common treatment options include:

Psychotherapy and counseling. Many TBI victims are able to manage their anxiety and depression with the help of counseling. Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy have proven quite useful in helping TBI victims cope with and contextualize their feelings. Some therapists also use innovations like biofeedback to help patients identify and retrain their responses.

Medication. In some cases, the best way to provide relief to head injury victims and restore some quality of life is through the use of antidepressant medications which help balance the brain chemicals that trigger anxiety and depression. Because antidepressants are powerful psychotropic drugs that can deeply affect mood and logic, this path requires constant monitoring and supervision to make sure the right drugs are administered in the right dosages, so the patient truly benefits from them.

Getting Help from a Personal Injury Attorney after a Brain Injury

Head injuries can cause significant and lingering symptoms that require ongoing care and sometimes long recovery times. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to recover damages to make sure your medical costs, treatment, and even pain and suffering are compensated. Our team of personal injury attorneys can help you get all the financial compensation you need to remain on your path toward wholeness. Contact us for a free initial consultation.