The Link Between Psychiatric Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is known for potentially causing a series of adverse symptoms in patients, such as memory loss, reduced cognitive function, and personality changes. There is also evidence that TBI can increase a person’s risk for psychiatric conditions, including depression and schizophrenia. San Diego Injury Lawyer is providing you with this important information on this link between psychiatric disorders and traumatic brain injury so that TBI survivors and their loved ones may be on the alert for the development of mental disorders following their brain injury. Our San Diego, CA, law firm has been representing brain injury victims for decades, and is committed to helping them recover as safely and fully as possible.

Data Linking TBI to Psychiatric Conditions 

In 2013, Danish scientists released a study conclusively linking head traumas, such as concussion and skull fracture, with the subsequent risk of developing psychiatric disorders. This comprehensive study followed 1.4 million Danish citizens, of which 113,906 were admitted to hospital with a head injury.

The findings showed that head injuries can increase the risk of developing certain mental disorders by as much as 439 percent, and that people with TBI were:

  • 65 percent more likely to develop schizophrenia
  • 59 percent more likely to develop depression
  • 28 percent more likely to develop bipolar disorder

The study also found that the greatest risk of developing a mental disorder is in the first year following the head trauma, but even after 15 years there was a significantly increased risk.

Further Evidence

There are three other significant studies evidencing a link between TBI and mental disorders. These studies include:

  • Researchers in 2014 found that mice that had sustained a TBI demonstrated increased depressive symptoms, and elevated levels of neural inflammation.
  • A 2004 study that the prevalence of depression after TBI is greater than 50 percent.
  • A 2016 scientific analysis revealed that individuals who had suffered a concussion were three times more likely to commit suicide.

Why Brain Injury Victims Are at Risk

Scientists offer several possible explanations for the reason that brain injury victims are at increased risk for psychiatric disorders. Other studies on animals have shown that the inflammation associated with head trauma correlates with an increased risk of psychological symptoms. Diffuse head injuries, like a concussion, can affect the neurotransmitters that communicate with the nervous system, a disruption that is associated with the development of psychiatric disorders.

Psychological and emotional reactions to the trauma that caused the TBI may cause mental disorders.

Head injuries that damage a certain part of the brain associated with a particular mental disorder can trigger that disorder. In addition, psychological and emotional reactions to the trauma that caused the TBI may cause mental disorders. The loss of bodily functions or abilities associated with a TBI can affect self-esteem and the psyche, triggering mental disorders.

Fighting for Justice for Brain Injury Victims

San Diego Injury Lawyer is here for brain injury victims who need legal guidance. Our attorneys, lead by Kerry Steigerwalt, can review your case for free and advise you on your rights, and represent you if your case warrants legal action. Find out more about how our three decades of experience helping personal injury victims can work for you by reaching out to us online, or calling us at (619) 272-4028.