Yes. While many brain injury victims experience mild to moderate depression as a result of their conditions, some patients’ mental health deteriorates to the point where they no longer want to go on living. Victims may have difficulty sleeping, going out in public, suffer prolonged bouts of crying, or even neglect to care for themselves—finally leading to thoughts or attempts at suicide.
Studies have shown that people who suffer traumatic brain injuries are at a significantly higher risk of premature death than those who suffer other injuries. Patients who are most at risk of early death after a brain injury in Riverside include:
- Military members. Soldiers and military veterans are already at a higher risk of suicide due to increased rates of psychiatric illness, an increase that only gets higher after a brain injury.
- Reclusive patients. Some brain injury victims attempt to “go it alone” to overcome their injuries, skipping follow-up appointments or discontinuing their medications without telling anyone. Unfortunately, this means they are often unprepared for the emotional symptoms that accompany most head injuries.
- Drug users. As many as half of all early deaths after a brain injury were a result of dangerous drug or alcohol use. Some of these were a result of known addictions before the accidents, but many developed as a way for patients to cope with the loss of their former faculties.
- Physically disabled patients. Patients who have suffered debilitating physical injuries as well as brain damage may suffer a significantly reduced quality of life. With far fewer activities available to them, many dwell on the loss of their health and independence, becoming isolated and turning to self-harm.
While follow-up care for a patient’s brain injury may be included in most insurance policies, many do not cover the costs of depression treatment, leaving many victims to suffer in silence. If someone you know is suffering from extreme depression after a brain injury, send him a link to this article to let him know there is help available.