How depression after a brain injury could need special care

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Personal injury |

Depression is a major health problem affecting millions of Americans, including many Irvine residents. The good news is that there are more and better treatment options than ever. That, along with the stigma associated with depression fading away, means that it is possible for many patients to control their symptoms and stop them from limiting their lives.

However, depression affects different people in different ways. And the causes are not always the same. For example, it is common to develop depression after a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). A severe TBI can profoundly restrict your quality of life and independence, often for years or the rest of your life. It’s no surprise that so many people with this condition become depressed.

New research suggests that depression diagnosed following brain trauma may be a separate condition from standard depression. The study’s authors propose “TBI affective syndrome” as a name for this specific form of depression. They base their theory on studies of the brains of depression patients, including people who did and did not sustain a brain injury.

Opposite effects on the brain

The researchers found that while depression affected the same brain circuits in both groups, it seemed to have different effects depending on whether the subject had a history of brain trauma. For example, those without a TBI might have overactivity in a particular circuit, while the TBI group all experience interactivity in that same circuit.

This suggests that medication and other treatments that work well for most depression patients might be ineffective for those whose depression is a side effect of a brain injury. The study’s authors believe transcranial magnetic stimulation is a potentially promising option.

The effects of TBI after an accident

Not every TBI sufferer also develops depression. But a severe brain injury can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as cognitive and memory difficulties, chronic nausea and vomiting, headaches, sensitivity to light and mood swings. It can force you to stop working and depend on others for tasks you once took for granted, like raising the children and keeping yourself clean and fed. When someone else’s negligence caused a brain injury, that person should be responsible for the costs associated with these damages.