Can a Concussion Lead to Depression?
Did you know that your seemingly mild concussion could lead to long-term depression?
Most people who suffer a concussion are grateful that their brain injury isn’t more severe. They may believe that they suffered a mild injury and one that will heal in a few weeks, and hopefully that does happen with no lasting impact. Unfortunately, many accident victims are surprised to learn that their concussion symptoms may not just disappear. Even more are surprised to realize that their concussion is the reason they are now suffering a serious mood or mental health disorder, such as depression.
About half of all people with brain injuries, such as concussions, experience depression within the first year of injury. Shockingly 66 percent of brain injury victims suffer from depression within seven years after their injury.
Delayed Depression and Concussions
According to research published in Biological Psychiatry, a concussion can lead to depression years, even decades after the initial injury. In fact, sustaining a concussion in your 20s or 30s could lead to depression years down the road. The research shows that many people who suffer head injuries may not initially develop depression-related symptoms. Instead, their depression can take years to surface, and they may not show signs until their 40s or 50s. This is an important finding that could have a significant impact on accident victims and their personal injury cases.
Concussions and Teen Depression
A study conducted by researchers at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington found that adolescents with a history of concussions are also more likely to experience depression. This is just one of many studies that highlight the association between brain injuries and depression. Teens who suffer depression are more likely to have problems in school and struggle with obesity and substance abuse.
What Causes Depression After a Concussion?
There are many reasons why depression can occur after a concussion.
- Physical After an accident, a concussion can disrupt the natural chemicals in the brain. When the brain suffers an injury, even a seemingly minor one, neurotransmitters can become interrupted. This can result in a decrease in some of the chemicals that control emotions, leading to depression.
- Emotional The aftermath of an accident can result in serious emotional distress. Trauma from the crash, combined with injuries and disabilities may cause you to feel hopeless. Struggling to adjust to your new life or to losses can be emotionally difficult and can lead to feelings of depression.
- Personal You may also find yourself struggling with depression after an accident because you might be predisposed to developing depression. Many people have a higher risk for depression because of genetics or personal history. Relationship baggage, childhood trauma, and family history can all play a role in developing depression after a concussion.
Understanding Depression After a Concussion
If you suffered from a concussion, it may be easy to miss the warning signs of depression. After all, your life may have been turned upside down in an accident. You may also find yourself struggling to recover from other injuries at the same time.
Depression is a feeling of overall sadness and hopelessness. It does not get better with time, and it can become so overwhelming that it makes it difficult to function in normal life. However, recognizing the signs of depression is the first step towards getting the help you need.
If you notice these signs several days a week or find them lasting for longer than two weeks, it may be time to seek professional help.
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Feeling worthless
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep disturbances
- Withdrawing from social activities and other people
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulty concentrating
If you recognize any of these signs, it is important to speak to your physician immediately. There are numerous treatments out there to help individuals struggling with depression — from medications to therapy. Your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional who can better guide you through depression, so you can get your life back on track.
Contact Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Bryan Baer
If you suffer from depression, and you had a concussion, we can help. It is important to evaluate all your injuries and symptoms before accepting a settlement offer. Without a full and complete evaluation, you may not receive enough compensation to cover all your expenses.
At The Baer Law Firm, Atlanta personal injury lawyer Bryan Baer is here to help you after an accident. We offer full and complete legal guidance every step of the way. Call us at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237) or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to discuss your legal matter and offer honest advice.
Attorney Bryan Baer has twenty (20) years of legal experience representing clients in serious and catastrophic personal injury and medical malpractice cases. He has been first chair in more than a dozen twelve-person jury trials on both the plaintiff and defense sides. Recognized as a leader in his legal community, he is frequently asked to speak at legal seminars on trial topics ranging from “Best Practices in Voire Dire” to “Maximizing Damages at Trial” as well as insurance issues such as “Navigating the Insurance Landscape” and “Injury Demands & Negotiations.” Learn more here.