A teenage boy crashes his car on the way home from a party and sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI); he had been drinking. A once successful business woman finds herself depending on prescription drugs that she started using to manage pain after her TBI. A soldier who sustained a TBI in Iraq develops a drinking problem three years after his injury, causing problems at home, and deepening his feelings of despair.
Unfortunately, brain injury and drugs and alcohol often go hand in hand. People who abuse drugs and alcohol have a higher incidence of sustaining a brain injury — from falling or driving while intoxicated, for example. And the effects of alcohol and drugs only get worse for people after a brain injury.
Why not to use drugs and alcohol after a brain injury
There are many reasons why using drugs and alcohol after a brain injury is not recommended. Here are a few of the main ones:
Treatments and strategies
People with brain injury and their families should know that there are treatments and strategies out there, and ones that can be very effective. Some of them include:
It’s crucial for people to get treated for both the TBI and the addiction simultaneously and by someone who knows about both. Seek out a program or programs where there is collaboration and communication between the brain injury treatment providers and the substance abuse treatment providers.
A consistent, non-judgemental, loving message from family and doctors is the best way to help a loved one with TBI and substance abuse issues.