Depression and Traumatic Brain Injury

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
December 2, 2019

At the Smith Law Center, we have helped people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries for more than four decades. We are familiar with many of the symptoms of TBI which include depression and anxiety. Knowing what to look for is vital in building a case against the party that caused your brain injury.

Brain injuries are complicated. As well as depression, sufferers can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a range of other issues. Many of these are interrelated. If, for instance, you suffer memory loss or difficulties concentrating after sustaining a brain injury, you may also feel down.

Our attorneys believe, an at-fault driver, a company, or another culpable individual should be held accountable for a brain injury that affects your quality of life. Attorney Stephen Smith was one of the first lawyers in Virginia to recognize and litigate traumatic brain injury cases. We believe in fighting these cases all the way to trial if necessary.

Listen to David Holt Discuss Depression and TBI

Cases 4 Causes Podcast | S2: Episode 4

How Common is Depression after Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury increases your likelihood of developing depression, even if you never suffered the symptoms before.

The Mayo Clinic states people with no previous mental health history are more likely to feel down or suffer depression after sustaining a TBI, even a mild brain injury. Some studies suggest that the risk of developing depression after a TBI may be two to five times higher than in people who have not suffered a head injury. According to Brainline, depression is common in brain injury sufferers whether they have a mild, a moderate, or a severe injury.

Depression can mean different things to different people. It is defined as a feeling of loss, despair, sadness, or hopelessness. The mood of the sufferer does not improve over time. Depression can be so overwhelming it takes over the TBI sufferer’s life.  If you lose interest in things that excited you in the past for weeks at a time, you may be suffering from depression. Common symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Feeling down or blue
  • Feeling worthless, a lack of self-esteem or feeling like a failure
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating on everyday tasks
  • A lack of energy or motivation
  • Withdrawing from the company of others
  • Moving or speaking slowly
  • Feeling fidgety
  • Thinking of death or suicide

Sadness is common in more than half of people who suffer a TBI. If you feel down over a prolonged period of time or suffer some of the symptoms listed above, you may have depression.  About half of all people with TBI suffer depression within the first year after injury. As many as two-thirds will suffer it within seven years of an injury. Over half of the people who suffer from TBI who experience depression also deal with anxiety. Typically, two-thirds of people who suffer from depression after a brain injury also experience anxiety.

Treatment for Depression After a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you suffer depression after a brain injury, it’s important to seek help. If depression goes untreated, sufferers often become suicidal. People diagnosed with depression after a TBI should seek personal counseling with a psychotherapist.

Medications are also prescribed for depression and anxiety. Patients may require a long course of anti-depressants.

You cannot overcome depression by wishing it away or exerting more willpower. However, there is evidence living a healthy lifestyle can help. Take part in aerobic exercise and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear or nervousness out of proportion to a given situation. People with TBIs are often acutely conscious of their condition and feel awkward in crowds and other social situations. It’s important to limit stimulation and take things slowly. Most TBI sufferers make a gradual recovery.

Contact a Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

At the Smith Law Center, we have helped people with brain injuries across the nation and internationally. Our TBI team will fight for your rights. Please call us for a free consultation today at (757) 244-7000.

Smith Law Center partners

About Smith Law Center

Our lawyers are more than lawyers. They are people who understand your injuries and the law that surrounds your options when it comes to holding others accountable.

No items found.