People who have experienced either a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury are twice as likely to commit suicide than others, a new review suggests. This is sobering since such injury can occur from events that we may take for granted such as a fall or sports-related injury.
Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury(TBI). Many countries do not have accurate records on how common it is, but it is estimated to affect 4 million people a year in the United States.
For four of five concussion patients, all neurological symptoms are gone within a week, meaning they return to normal. But roughly a quarter of patients will go on to struggle with chronic mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
The investigators offerred several theories on why a concussion or mild TBI might increase suicide risk. Among them were abnormal brain activity after the accident, and abnormal communication in brain regions that control thinking and emotions. Brain scans have pointed to both.
Another possibility is that the accidents may also lead to progressive neurodegenerative disease, the research team said. Regardless, people need to take special care after a concussion, or even better avoid suffering a concussion when possible.
“A concussion sometimes can cause lasting damage that leads a person’s life to slowly unravel,” said a Senior Scientist, adding that the result can be a life of considerable suffering and emotional instability, Either way, he said the findings should encourage psychiatrists to consider trauma history when gauging a patient’s suicide risk and help raise awareness in the community.