A survey shows that depression and other psychiatric disorders are common after a head injury.
Previous research has suggested that depression may be a complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the issue has not been extensively investigated. Researchers at the University of Iowa compared 91 patients with TBI with 27 patients who suffered multiple trauma, but without any nervous system involvement. They found that a third of the patients had clinical depression during the year after their injury. This was far more frequent than in the control group. Those with TBI and depression were more likely to have a history of mood and anxiety disorders than those who had TBI without depression.
Of the patients with TBI and depression, 77 per cent also reported anxiety and 57 per cent exhibited aggressive behavior. Major depression was also linked to poorer social functioning six and twelve months after the injury. Brain scans also revealed a reduced level of gray matter in this group.