Several million Americans, including many Missourians, have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) - a sudden violent blow to the head that affects normal brain function. Our Missouri personal injury attorneys know that the most common cause of these injuries is automobile accidents. Brain injuries can result in many difficult symptoms, such as memory loss, decline in motor skills, and other physical effects. Many sufferers are unaware that they've even had this type of injury until long after other symptoms and conditions have developed.
Studies show that depression is another common side effect of brain injuries, one which often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Although depression from a brain injury usually appears within a year of the injury, the risk of it developing later in life is permanently elevated. In fact, a study by Vanderbilt University reports that 30 percent of traumatic brain injury sufferers will develop depression at some point in their life.
TBIs result in 1.2 million emergency room visits each year, and "[a]ny patient who has a traumatic brain injury is at a real risk for developing depression, short and long term," according to study co-author Oscar Guillamondegui. The study found that, on average, 27% of patients met criteria for depression 3 to 6 months after injury; 32% at 6 to 12 months; and 33% beyond 12 months.
"Whether you look at depression 3 months after TBI or 1 year or even 5 years, the prevalence is consistently about 30% across the board at all time points regardless of type of injury or severity of injury. When you consider that estimates of depression in the general population run at about 8% to 10%, this is very high," said Dr. Melissa McPheeters, the co-author.