Depression After Brain Injury – Risk Factors, Tests, Symptoms, Treatment

Have you ever experienced symptoms of depression after receiving a mild or severe brain injury?

In fact, patients who have had traumatic brain injury are likely to feel sadness or depressed mood.

As per the researchers, any injury to brain (Mild. Moderate or severe) can lead to various physical or mental problems.

Common problems after brain injury

  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Depressed mood or Anxiety
  • Difficulty to memorise or remember
  • Ringing sensation in your ears
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue or loss of energy

In some cases, patients may experience symptoms of anxiety or depressed mood even after

many months or years following brain injury.

Risk factors of depression after brain Injury

  • Any sort of brain injury can lead to depression including mild, moderate, or severe injury.
  • Person of any age can experience depression after brain injury
  • Individuals with any gender can experience depression after brain injury
  • Depression may result irrespective of the part of brain that was injured

Diagnostic Tests for Depression after brain Injury

The diagnosis of the major depression is performed by doctors after thorough medical examination of the depressed patient. Patient is asked various questions related to medical history and symptoms.

  • Full patient medical history
  • Physical Assessment
  • Thorough evaluation of symptoms
  • Standardized questionnaires
  • Blood tests for TSH and thyroxin levels for excluding hypothyroidism
  • Basic electrolytes and serum calcium for ruling out metabolic disturbances
  • Full blood count including ESR for ruling out a systemic infection

Symptoms of depression in patients who have had brain injury

Patients who have had brain injury may experience various symptoms of depression. As a patient you may not observe some of these symptoms; however your friends/family members may notice them.

You should consult with your relatives, friends or people close to you if they have observed any changes in your mood or behaviours.

  • Feeling of sadness
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Lack of interest in enjoying tasks that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty in sleeping (too much sleep or too less sleep)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Suicidal tendency
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Avoid spending time with family members or friends
  • Increasing intake of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
  • Tendency to eat more or loss of appetite

Treatment of depression in patients who have had brain injury

Psychiatrists treat the depression by using combination of various therapies as it helps in obtaining the desired results.

  • There are many antidepressants used by psychiatrists for treating depression. Patients have to take these medications for long periods including months or even years.

Medications like antidepressants and antipsychotic medication

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) such as citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine
  •  Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) such as venlafaxine and duloxetine
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy/ or talk therapy that inculcates the positive attitude and behaviours in the patients
  • Physical exercise
  • Support from families/friends