Can a Brain Injury Permanently Affect Mental Health?

Can a Brain Injury Permanently Affect Mental Health?A brain injury can impact your life in many ways. For example, you may have headaches, sleeping issues, problems with concentrating and focusing on tasks, and fatigue. Another effect it could have is on your mental health.

Short-term effects are well-documented. The National Institutes of Health released a study in 2019 that said about 20% of victims of concussions (mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI) reported mental health problems six months after the injury. Multiple studies done in the past 30 years have also linked TBI to serious, chronic mental health conditions.

While a person may look completely okay several weeks or even months after the brain injury, they may be developing a mental health or psychological condition. This is because these issues can be difficult to detect and can emerge any time after the brain injury occurred, including years later.

Mental health conditions and disorders linked to TBI

There are several mental health conditions and psychiatric disorders  that have been linked to brain injury:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): According to the National Center for PTSD, individuals who have a traumatic brain injury “are more likely to develop PTSD than those without a TBI history.” PTSD is common in individuals who have been assaulted, served in the military, or experienced an accident. Those with PTSD may have frequent flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety surrounding the event they experienced.
  • Depression: The depression caused by a TBI is different from other types of depression. This type of depression, called “TBI affective syndrome” by the scientists who discovered the differences, appears to be “less amenable to [conventional] treatment.” Per NBC News, “people with a TBI are nearly eight times more likely to have depression than people without one.”
  • Anxiety: The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted a study a couple years ago to find out the correlation between anxiety and brain injuries. The study found that almost 30 percent of the participants who had a traumatic brain injury suffered from anxiety, while those who never had a brain injury had no anxiety. Anxiety is described as feeling uneasy, tense, restless, scared, or nervous. While many people may say that they have these types of feelings from time to time, those with anxiety feel them a lot more often, and it can even take over their lives.
  • Schizophrenia: Science Direct points out that there is a link between brain injuries and schizophrenia, identifying a “TBI related [form of]schizophrenia in patients with no prior history of psychiatric disorder, and trauma event occurring in adulthood.” A brain injury could cause individuals to have difficulties separating what is real and what is fake, which is common in those with schizophrenia. Hallucinations, delusional thoughts, and cognitive and behavior problems are also common.
  • Bipolar Disorder: According to a study published by NCBI, there is a connection between bipolar disorder and traumatic brain injuries; about one in ten individuals who have received a bipolar disorder diagnosis also experienced a brain injury. Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person has very strong mood changes.
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): There is a strong link between ADHD and brain injuries. MedPage Today states that children who have experienced a traumatic brain injury were more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis within one year after their injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that “ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood.” This disorder is most often found and diagnosed during the childhood years, but it usually carries on into adulthood. It causes difficulties with focusing, concentrating, paying attention, and more.

At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our Los Angeles brain injury lawyers take your case seriously. We know and understand that you are going through a difficult time right now and need someone in your corner who can stand up and advocate for your rights, which is exactly what our team will do. We will fight for your right to the compensation you need and deserve, while also ensuring that the legal process remains as smooth and stress-free as possible for you. If you are ready to begin discussing your claim and finding out how you can hold the parties accountable for their negligence, please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation today. Our case evaluations are held remotely, meaning that you can simply meet with a member of our team directly from your electronic device.

Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.