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Depression & Death: The Deadly Side Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) have devastating consequences that persist long after the injury occurred. Individuals, particularly young adults, who suffer a TBI are at increased risk of depression and suicide. Reports published by the Centers for Disease Control showed that in 2017 there were 61,000 TBI linked fatalities in the United States. Of these, nearly half were the result of suicide. The risks are very real, and loved ones, family members, and other caregivers play an essential role in helping to protect TBI survivors from self-harm.

TBI and Suicide

The data presented by the CDC this year mirrors data gathered by earlier studies. From 1980 to 2014, researchers in Denmark studied the effect of TBI on suicide rates. Their research determined that individuals who suffered a TBI were twice as likely to commit suicide than individuals with no history of TBI.

When individuals suffer a TBI, a complex chain of events is put in motion. The injury can alter the brain’s functions. It can change an individual’s perceptions, alter their moods, diminish hormone production, and more. Individuals who suffer a TBI may be unable to work, or may not be able to find work sufficient to support themselves. They may lose friendships and romantic relationships.

Many brain injuries leave the individual with lasting damage. The knowledge that their condition is permanent and that their “former selves” are gone forever can leave many feeling hopeless. Coupled with the resulting social and financial fallout, many feel suicide is their only option.

Recognizing Suicidal Behaviors

Very few suicides are spur of the moment decisions. Most occur after days, weeks, or months of consideration. During this period, the individual will exhibit a wide range of symptoms that loved ones, family members, and caregivers should remain alert for.

These include excessive sadness or moodiness, expressions of hopelessness, sleep problems, withdrawal, changes in appearance, or dangerous, self-harming behavior. One of the final symptoms is an overwhelming sense of calm. If this occurs following the other behaviors, prompt support is imperative.

In Boulder, Colorado Crisis Services is available 24/7 at (844) 493-8255. They have many resources to help individuals considering suicide and their loved ones.

We can’t reverse the effects of a TBI, but when you contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 we can connect you with a civil attorney on our team who can help recover compensation to treat and care for the injury.

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