Mild brain injury tied to higher risk of PTSD, depression



(CNN)A mild traumatic brain injury — such as from a car crash or violent assault — may come with a higher risk of mental health problems, according to a new study. Specifically, the research ties mild traumatic brain injury to a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after the injury, compared with another type of traumatic injury not involving the head. The study, published Wednesday in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that among hospital patients, 21.2% of those with mild traumatic brain injuries experienced PTSD or depression up to six months after injury, compared with 12.1% of those with non-head injuries.What is a traumatic brain injury? A traumatic brain injury can range from “mild” to “severe” and is typically caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The new study involved 1,155 patients with mild traumatic brain injuries and 230 with non-head injuries from 11 hospitals with trauma centers across the United States, between 2014 and 2016.Read MoreAmong the mild traumatic brain injuries, 61.8% were caused by motor vehicle collision, 29.2% were the result of a fall or other unintentional injury, 6.1% were caused by violence or assault, and 3% were from an unspecified cause.ERs ‘flooded’ with mentally ill patients with no place else to turnEach patient’s health was assessed shortly after they were seen at the hospital, two weeks later and three months, six months and 12 months after injury. At those points, the patients were assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder symptoms.The researchers found that patients with mild traumatic brain injury were more likely to report PTSD or major depressive symptoms at three and six months after injury. At three months, for instance, the prevalence of either mild depressive disorder or PTSD was 20% among those with mild traumatic brain injury versus 8.7% among those with non-head injuries.The researchers also found that having a mental health problem before a traumatic brain injury was “an exceptionally strong risk factor” for having PTSD or major depressive disorder afterward.One concussion could increase risk of Parkinson’s disease, study saysThe study had some limitations, including that more research is needed before the findings can be generalizable to other hospitals, communities or countries. Also, the researchers relied on self-reports about the patients’ history of mental health problems. The researchers also found an increased risk for PTSD and depression after mild traumatic brain injury among black patients. More research is needed to analyze this disparity. Overall, “our findings may have implications for surveillance and treatment of mental disorders after TBI. The emergence and long- term course of PTSD after TBI is variable,” the researchers wrote. Their findings show that PTSD and maj

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