Living with a brain injury is a challenging situation, which may raise the risk of a variety of mental illnesses. People with brain injuries may experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other conditions that require treatment.
Brain injuries kill tens of thousands of people each year in the United States and can range from a mild concussion to a coma-inducing trauma. About 1.7 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries in the United States each year.
It can take days or weeks of medical care for someone suffering even a mild brain injury to return to their daily activities. Although a person may look well on the surface, they can suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental illness.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Some of the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury are more obvious to an observer. A person might lose consciousness, develop a headache, feel lightheaded, or fall into a coma. Other symptoms might be repeated episodes of vomiting or having one pupil larger than the other.
There are symptoms that are more subtle to watch for in a loved one who suffers a traumatic brain injury. These include the following:
- Low mood;
- Low energy;
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Acting restless or slowing down;
- Thoughts of death.
Brain injuries themselves may cause changes in brain structure and function. These changes can increase a person’s risk for depression.
Brain Injury and Depression
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than half of all people who suffer a traumatic brain injury will become depressed in the year following the injury. This is a rate eight times higher than the general population.
This study also showed that only about 45 percent of those who do become depressed are likely to receive adequate treatment for that depression. Those who were depressed were more likely than the non-depressed patients to say they were experiencing trouble with pain, mobility, and everyday activities after their injury.
Traumatic brain injury can increase rates of depression up to 20 or 30 years after the brain injury. Some doctors recommend periodic screenings for depression every 6 months following a brain injury.
Research shows a higher rate of suicide following traumatic brain injury. Therefore, any suicide threats or tendencies need to be taken very seriously. An extremely disturbing research finding was published earlier this year stating that people who had received a concussion in the past were three times more likely to fall victim to suicide.
Mental Health Resources in Arkansas
In honor of #mentalawarenessmonth, here are several mental health resources available to residents across Arkansas who have suffered brain injuries or just need someone to talk to.
Arkansas Crisis Center
National Depression Hotlines:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741.
IMALIVE.org: Click the chat now box to be connected to a volunteer.
Lifeline Crisis Chat: Click the chat now box to speak to a helpline representative.
Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
Child Help USA Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
Boys and Girls Town National Hotline: 1-800-448-3000
An Experienced Arkansas Brain Injury Attorney May be Able to Help
If you believe that another person’s negligence caused you or your loved one to suffer a serious brain injury, it is important to seek legal help right away. The Law Offices of Alan LeVar will review your situation for free. If you do have a claim, their experienced team of legal professionals will protect your rights and pursue any compensation you are due.
Call the professionals at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar. There is a time limit in which these cases must be filed. With offices in Little Rock, Bentonville, Conway, and Arkadelphia, we are here for you and ready to help.