Traumatic brain injuries may lead to depression for people in Illinois

Traumatic brain injuries may cause people to develop depression, which could impact their ability to perform their normal everyday activities.

When people in Illinois, and elsewhere, suffer traumatic brain injuries, they may experience a range of effects. Most notable among these are physical ailments, such as headaches, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, may also have emotional effects and cause behavioral changes, including depression.

Research has shown that suffering head trauma may be a risk factor for depression. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, three out of every 10 people who sustain brain injuries will also suffer from depression. This is compared to one out of every 10 people who have not suffered TBIs.

What is depression?

While people often say they are depressed when they are feeling down, depression is more than just the occasional blues. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a type of mood disorder. Often characterized by a loss of interest and persistent feelings of sadness, this condition may impact how people think, feel and act.

There is still much to be learned about the exact cause of depression. It is believed, however, that factors including biological differences, brain chemistry, hormones and genetics may contribute to its development.

Common signs of depression

Depression can cause people to experience a range of effects. The Mayo Clinic points out that these symptoms may include the following:

  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Agitation, irritability or angry outbursts
  • Sleep disturbances, tiredness or lack of energy
  • Slowed thought, speech or body movements
  • Increased cravings and weight gain, or decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Additionally, depression may also cause people to suffer from physical ailments. This may include headaches or back pain. Combined, or on their own, these effects may cause problems for people with their everyday lives, including going to work or school and interacting socially.

What causes depression after a TBI?

Following a TBI, there are several factors that may contribute to a person developing depression. Some may develop the condition as they struggle to adjust to, and cope with, the effects of their brain injuries. This may include role changes within their families, or temporary or permanent disabilities.

In other cases, depression may result as a direct result of a head injury. If the area of the brain that controls emotions is damaged, it could change a person's neurotransmitter levels. The altered chemical levels in his or her brain may lead to the onset of depression.

Seeking legal guidance

People with TBIs and depression in Illinois, and elsewhere, may require ongoing medical treatment due to their conditions. As a result, they may incur undue expenses, including those associated with their medical care. If their injuries were caused by the negligence or intentional actions of others, however, the person responsible may be held financially liable. Those who have experienced situations such as this may consider consulting with an attorney to understand their rights and options.