Statistics indicate that about half of all traumatic brain injury (TBI) sufferers experience depression within the first year of injury, and almost two-thirds display symptoms by the seventh year after injury. Generally caused by physical changes to the brain, these symptoms can greatly diminish a victim’s overall quality of life. A new study suggests prophylactic use of antidepressants may help.
How Depression in TBI Sufferers is Currently Treated
Like in most depression sufferers, those with depression after a TBI are treated once they report symptoms to their doctor. This can be problematic if the sufferer is not fully aware of the fact that they are dealing with depression. It sounds absurd – not knowing that you have depression – but the very nature of depression can be insidious. It can creep in nearly undetected, even for those that have experienced it before.
Those that do not have a history with depression are at an even higher risk of not noticing. They may not associate their feelings of sadness, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, or withdrawal from others with depression. Instead, they may attribute it to other things, such as marital difficulties, problems at work (or being unable to work), or boredom. As a result, they may fail to discuss their symptoms with their doctor before things have become serious. Or they may not report their symptoms at all, which can put them at an increased risk for other health conditions and suicide.
Prophylactic Use of Antidepressants
Generally, antidepressants are not used as a prophylactic drug. However, in those that suffer from TBI, it may provide benefits. In fact, one study suggests that use of antidepressants prior to any display of depression symptoms could actually prevent depression altogether. Though small, it is not the first clinical trial to explore this concept. Still, more research is needed before antidepressants can be widely used as a prophylactic in TBI patients.
Getting the Compensation and Treatment You Need
It is important that TBI sufferers understand their risk of depression, and that doctors talk to their patients about the signs and symptoms. Further, victims who have suffered a TBI because of an accident should know that they do have the right to pursue compensation. However, victims are not always treated fairly when they try to recover damages that are owed to them. As such, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you or someone you love has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, Martinez & Schill LLP can help. Dedicated and experienced, we protect the rights of victims and aggressively pursue the most compensation possible. Get the seasoned legal assistance you deserve. Call 619-512-5995 and schedule a consultation with our San Diego personal injury lawyers today.