Depression After Brain Injury

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Depression After Brain Injury

A Guide for Patients and Their Caregivers

Is this guide right for me? Yes, if:

  • You have experienced a mild, moderate, or severe injury to your brain due to a sudden trauma. This guide is for you even if you did not see a doctor at the time of the injury.
  • A doctor or health care professional has told you that you have suffered a brain injury.
  • This guide is for you even if you have not felt depressed since your brain injury.

How common is depression for people with TBI?

Research has found that patients with TBI are more likely to experience depression than those who have not had a brain injury.

For every 10 people who do NOT have a brain injury, approximately one person will have depression.

For every 10 people who DO have a brain injury, approximately three people will have depression.


What increases my risk of depression?

The risk of depression after a TBI increases whether the injury is mild, moderate, or severe. Researchers cannot say if age, gender, the part of the brain that was injured, or the type of injury makes depression more likely.


How soon after my injury might I become depressed?

Researchers do not know when depression is most likely to occur after TBI. Some people experience depression right after their injury, while others develop depression a year or more later. It is important to tell your doctor about any symptoms of depression you may be having even if it has been a while since your head injury. Your doctor or health care professional will ask you a series of questions or have you fill out a questionnaire or form to see if you have depression.


How can I tell if I am depressed?

There are ways to tell if you are depressed.

  • Feeling down, depressed, or sad most of the day.
  • Changes in your sleeping habits, such as sleeping poorly or sleeping more than usual.
  • Losing interest in usual activities such as favorite hobbies, time with family members, or activities with friends.
  • Increasing your use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
  • Not eating as much or eating more, whether or not you are hungry.
  • Strong feelings of sadness, despair, or hopelessness.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

You may not notice some of these symptoms, but people living and working around you may see them. You may want to ask the people close to you if they notice these signs in you.

What should I do if these symptoms start to occur?

Tell your doctor or health care professional as soon as you or others around you notice any symptoms.

If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for help.


Understanding Your Choices

How is depression treated?

Depression is usually treated two ways:

  • Personal counseling with a special kind of health care professional. This is called “psychotherapy” (pronounced si-koh-THER-uh-pee).
    • In psychotherapy, you and a trained health care professional talk about your symptoms and how to develop ways to deal with them.
    • You might meet with your therapist weekly for several months or longer, depending on how you feel.
  • Medicines called “antidepressants” (pronounced an-tee-dee-PRESS-uhnts).
    • Several types of antidepressants are used to treat depression and anxiety.
    • You might need to take these medicines for several months or longer, depending on how you feel.

Many times, people need both psychotherapy and medicines.

Researchers do not know the specific benefits and harms or side effects of psychotherapy and antidepressants for people with TBI. However, both psychotherapy and antidepressants have helped people with depression.

Are there any side effects from antidepressants?

All antidepressants can cause side effects.

Researchers do not know if the side effects are different for people with TBI than for other people who take antidepressants. However, research found that for some people antidepressants can cause:

  • Stomach or intestinal pain and diarrhea.
  • Weight gain or weight loss.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sexual problems.
  • Trouble sleeping or sleepiness during the day.

Talk to your health care professional about the possible side effects of antidepressant medicines.

One special concern for people with TBI is how antidepressants may affect other medicines they take for their brain injury. It is important to tell your doctor or health care professional about other medicines you take.

Your health care professional can help you decide.


Tell your health care professional:

It is important that you contact your health care professional when you experience:

  1. Changes in sleeping or eating habits.
  2. Frequent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or panic.
  3. Disinterest in your favorite activities.
  4. Thoughts about suicide.

Ask your health care professional:

Here are some questions you may want to ask your health care professional if you are going to be treated for depression or anxiety following your brain injury:

  1. How often should we check to see if I am developing depression or an anxiety disorder?
  2. How long do you think I will need psychotherapy or medications to treat these problems?

Where does the information for this guide come from?

The information in this guide comes from a review of many studies about traumatic brain injury and depression. The review was conducted by an independent research center and was paid for by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a research agency of the U.S. Government. You can read the full report at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.

Posted on BrainLine May 13, 2011. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

Sources

The information in this guide comes from the report Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression. It was produced by the Vanderbilt University Evidence-based Practice Center through funding by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Information about the side effects of antidepressants comes from the report Comparative Effectiveness of Second-Generation Antidepressants in the Pharmacologic Treatment of Depression. It was produced by the RTI International–University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center through funding by AHRQ. For a copy of either of these reports or for more information about AHRQ and the Effective Health Care Program, go to www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov. Additional information for this guide came from the Medline-Plus Web site, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. This site is available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/traumaticbraininjury.html.

This summary guide was prepared by the John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

From the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Used with permission. www.ahrq.gov.

Comments (39)

Thank you all for sharing your stories its helpful to know I'm not alone with these issues... although it certainly feels that way sometimes. in 2011 I suffered a TBI playing college football. Doctors told me symptoms would go away within 2-3 weeks, welp they are still here 7 years later. I suffer from daily headaches/migraines, fatigue, and what I believe to be tbi induced depression and anxiety.

In high school I was your alpha male jock type, captain of the football lacrosse team etc. Following the concussion I was told I could never play contact sports again. the TBI took away what mattered most to me/and that was just the beginning. I suffered through anxiety and depression and struggled socially through college - something I had never experienced before. I constantly wondered what was wrong with me - I felt like I lost my edge, was always a second or two behind.

With nothing to focus on athletically I turned to academics. I worked my ass off/got a graduate degree/completed some professional certifications and am now a 25 year old working on Wall Street and living in Manhattan, which had always been my dream. Unfortunately 60 hours of intense/stressful computer work doesn't lend itself well to someone with pcs/tbi. I live in a constant loop of headache pain, barely sucking it up through the week only to crash on the weekend (sleeping 12-15s a day sat/sun). My head hurts every second of everyday. I still find myself struggling socially and on Wall Street you get picked apart for that kind of thing. I am resilient so I put my head down and work hard/fighting through the pain because I made a commitment to myself never to let this injury effect what I wanted to accomplish in life. Every day is a struggle though.

I feel like I let my family/friends down with who I have become after tbi. I am no longer the energetic/witty guy they remember although I try my best to be. I am almost ashamed, wondering at what point they are going to realize I changed and for the worst. I don't know who to go to or who to talk to. As you guys know doctors don't help. Ive seen so many and spend so much of my HARD earned money trying to find a treatment that would help but no dice.

Its a glim story but if your reading this and going through something similar, just know that no matter how dim it gets I will never give up. I will wake up every single day, put my suit on through my headache, and show up to work and grind. I will accomplish everything I set out to accomplish and be who I am supposed to become. I will NOT let this injury stop me. And I hope you don't either.

My last brain injury resulted in frequent migraines and visual problems and until this year nothing helped my migraines. The one change I made was trying CBD. It works for me. If it is legal in New York, you might want to research the results and find a physician that can help you. Best wishes.

I feel you...3yrs post tbi and I hate what I've become...I've changed so much ...it hurts...I managed to overcome the headaches with functional medicine but my gut issues cause ibs which left me cranky most if the time. Have you looked into seeing a chiropractic neurologist for the headaches? The treatments really helped me...neurofeedback etc...wish you all the best...your not alone.

I am 12.5 years post bifrontal craniotomy for a nasal dermoid cyst that invaded both hemispheres of my frontal lobe and then ruptured. I have never been the same and often regret having surgery. I wish my parents would have let me pass away. I lost my sense of smell during the operation and have not been able to enjoy food or develop close bonds with people since. Sensory overload prevents me from being able to enjoy social engagements. I used to be a competitive public speaker and now have a hard time vocally articulating myself. I am always depressed. I often contemplate suicide but am non committal. Other people who I was once close with do not like to be around me any longer because I cannot see enjoyment in life. I do not have follow ups with neurologists and have not since 6 months post surgery. They said the ruptured tumor should have killed me and that whatever damage is done, is just part of the gift of life. It is unacceptable to me. I am not able to work due to the inability to cope or speak under pressure, but I do not qualify for disability. My emotions are very black and white now, it is just a flip on or off and there is no median. I feel my brain further degenerating and since I am only in my 20s, life is rather hopeless for me.

I am in the same boat I was in a severe motorcycle accident when a truck pulled out in front of me had my helmet on my bike but for some reason wasn’t wearing it had several bruises and bleeds on the brain and 7 fractures one being open fracture femur with a rod Inserted now experiencing non union and didn’t have any insurance seems I’m in a hole I will never get out off and I’m only 25 I don’t know why I am still here and I really hate to say this or even think it but many days I wish I didn’t make it I’m scared of the future and seems like I will never be able to work or do anything again just being a live seems like a job and it’s not getting better really getting worse idk if I’m experiencing depression or what’s going on and I look like I did and fine so everyone thinks I’m fine and going to be alright but don’t see the real effects this accident had on me but I’d like to get into contact with some other people that have been thru similar events maybe talking about this would help I’ am becoming very anti social and just sit around all day I feel like I am in my own prison with no way out it’s hard to explain I’m sure other people feel the same way

I was in a severe car accident in sept of 2014 and was knocked unconscious and one day about 2 years later started talking to my wife about my school,I had been in my last semester getting my bachelors in history intending to go to law school. My wife gave me a very strange look and asked me did I know what year it was and I told her 2014 she then told me it was 2017 and I had not been able to go back to school after my accident. To me it had been a day when in reality it had been 2 years my wife then filled me in on my 2 forgotten years. All I had remembered was a truck pulling out in front of me and something hitting me in the face. I had hit the side of that truck and the collision crushed the front of the car into me and even though I had been wearing seatbelts my head still hit the steering wheel knocking me out. For two years after the wreck my wife told me I occasionally spoke and walked around but would not eat or drink and lost 40 pounds in 4 months and that she had to continuously watch me,I basically had the mentality of a five year old child. Today it is January 9 2019 I am 60 years old and I am permanently disabled because of my injuries because though I have mostly recovered mentally I still have physical injuries. Lately I have had problems coping with my lost memories which have never returned and when I look at pictures of myself before the accident I get both angry and depressed because I see a different person than I am today and feel a severe sense of loss because I realize a part of me died the day of that accident but I can not totally identify what I lost because I can not remember exactly who I was. I feel trapped between the world I knew before and the world I am in now and feel split between the two which causes me to be depressed ,angry and confused all at the same time and my symptoms are getting worse instead of better I dont tell my wife because I do not want to worry her. Does any of this make any sense to someone that has had a head injury and suffered a long term memory loss?

I'm so sorry that happened to you! I've gone through a similar experience too. Just please know that there is hope. There is always hope. You may not be completely healed or be able to do all of the things you were able to do before but you can get better. You will get better if you want to. You're not alone in this.

Hang in there Amanda. You're going to be just fine. <3

I had possibly the worst luck ever. I’m a big fan of roller coasters and have been for years, and decided that when I was getting kicked out of my dad’s house, I was going to move to Sandusky, Ohio since they have Cedar Point, which has one of the best known collections of coasters in the US. So I worked 60-hr weeks in a factory and saved enough money for my new apartment, for the move, and the long, one way bus trip there, which was almost 400 miles. Everything was going according to plan, and I couldn’t wait to get to Sandusky and visit Cedar Point for the first time ever. I had been wanting to go for at least seven years, when I first heard of it, but hadn’t been able to before because it was so far away, and work and stuff. The bus trip was really long, it was to be a 12hr trip, but after what felt like forever, I reached the next-to-last stop before Sandusky—-Toledo. Well, due to a misunderstanding, and just the dumbest luck, I hit my head while unboarding stuff from the bus, that it turned out, THEY were supposed to be unloading! I hit the back of my head and immediately felt dizzy, like I was seeing stars, like I almost blacked out, terrible pain, and, like another commenter has said, a warm flowing in the back of my head. When I finally got to a hospital there, they refused to do scans or anything, despite the fact that I’ve had two other head injuries in the past, and I told them that when I hit my head, it made one of the other ones (which gives me headaches almost constantly every day anyway), feel weird. Still, they refused though and basically just gave me an Advil, and a prescription for them for later, which did help the pain for then, but I still felt off. And very tired. I figured it was probably just because I had been up all day, and didn’t think much of it. I stayed up as long as I could, because I knew you weren’t supposed to sleep if you had a concussion, and I put ice on it to take down the swelling. I thought it would be better soon, but I should have known. Now, roller coasters hurt my head like crazy, even though, despite my other two injuries from years back, they usually never or very rarely did before. I used to be a total coaster fanatic, and ride as many as possible every time I went to a theme park, but now, now I can barely ride one in an hour, without the side of my head (by my ear) swelling up a bit and hurting. It’s terrible! I still love Cedar Point, and try to do as many rides as I can there, but there’s some I can’t even ride, because they hurt my head too badly. I bought a season pass and everything, and still, because of my head, I didn’t even get to ride all the coasters, even though I lived, like, 10 minutes away! It’s incredibly stupid! I’m always thinking, “Man, I was so close!” I was, like, an hour away when it happened! Now, my life’s not been the same. I have more headaches than ever before, I am depressed or something, I don’t even know. I’m just so confused all the time, and feel oddly, just so off, like I don’t even feel anything. Except pain. I lose my train of thought worse than I ever did before, forget people’s faces, like, right after I see them, and keep, in a weird way, just like forgetting stuff. Also, I’m so tired all the time, and can barely focus on the college courses I used to study all the time to learn, or books I try to read, or a lot of other stuff. It’s like my mind has this weird fog, and it won’t let me retain stuff I study anymore. It’s so dumb. I just wish my head could go back to normal. It’s made it hard to get a new job, and everything. Now, I’m just confused these days, it’s like I can’t even do anything. I almost want to just give up and see if I could move back home, even though I don’t really want to,—-I just want to go back, because it’s hard enough to move to a different state, but moving after being all confused and in pain a lot more now, is almost like too much! I hate injuries!

I was riding my bicycle when I had my accident. I was wearing a helmet and a truck went by me. As I moved off to the side of the road I hit a patch of sand and lost control of the front wheel. I landed on my head and and shoulder and I blacked out briefly. When I came to everything was spinning and my head hurt so badly. I had never had a brain injury before and I thought I would just get better so I woke up for work the next day like everything was normal. I worked through the pain and probably made things worse for myself but, like I said, I had never had a brain injury before and didn't realize then extent of my injuries since the rest of my body was fine. Nothing has been the same since. My moods are constantly changing and negative most of the time. I have to zone everything else out and keep things organized in my life or I feel like I go crazy. My job required many last minute changes and was high pressure. I used to be able to handle all of those things rather well but i'm so much less mentally resilient at this point. I had to resign my position because I could not deal with the stress of it anymore. I am a completely different person since my TBI and I feel badly for my family. Everyday is a struggle and I'm trying to cope as best I can. My wife is very supportive and I have to keep in mind that I have limitations for what I can handle that I didn't have before. It's hard but my wife is making up for my new situation.

I have a long sad story. My husband died suddenly four years ago. That's when my depression started. Three years ago I had a stroke (not my first) and drove off the road. I got a severe TBI, broke my neck & scull in the accident. Had a third stoke a couple days latter. Was in a coma for a week. Then an induced coma for another week. In ICU for a month then a recovery center. While I was in ICU my sister saw fit to take everything of my husband's to the dump and much of our furniture. While I was in ICU I had a second place on the delta. My neighbor's saw fit to rob me ten times. Robbed my camper of what I had left of my husband's stuff, robbed my boat, robbed my truck, robbed my 5th wheel multiple times. They would not release me from the recovery center to go live alone. After three months of sleeping on my sister's couch and having older sisters act as my caregiver, I was allowed to leave and go live with someone on the delta. He was mean and put me back in the hospital. Now I moved to middle nowhere a year and half ago. Live alone. No family member has even called me in a year and a half to see if I'm alive. My sister robbed me again of some things she I've had since 1981. Withheld many of my belongings she had removed from my storage and withheld until six months ago. I am truely depressed but will live as long as my 10 year old cat is alive. My german shephard died two months to the date after my husband. She was eight. My husband was 52. I'm at a loss of what to do. Struggle everyday with basic things like not falling, talking clearly,... Don't know how to cook without burning myself. Remember to eat once - most days. Got my driver's license back and taught myself to drive. Don't really go anyplace though. Taught myself to walk again. Do like to hike in the national forest. My neighbor is letting teach his two year old akita to be a service dog and he keeps a close eye on me. He's 90 lbs and all mussel so good at making sure to support me when I stumble. There has to be more to life than just waiting for my elderly cat to die. I used to be very intelligent. A research and development enginineering manager for Hewlett-Packard managing multi-million dollar new product development. From that to not even knowing what an ink pen was.

Wow, this is such an incredibly hard life you have had to lead. I send you all the love in my heart, I've had a lot of concussions and people just take the day to day stuff for granted. It really sucks, especially what you have had and I am so sorry. What a world right. Please reach out whenever you need

Hi Wendy,
Thats the saddest story I have ever heard and I hope you dont feel alone.
I have tbi too and if you need to talk, i will always listen

Thanks to everyone who shared their comments; the information really helped me today. I was in a car accident in March, 2018, and I am recovering from a concussion and whiplash. My depression started about a month ago and I am experiencing so many of the same issues that others are describing. It helps to know that this is not unique to me, and somehow makes it more manageable. For those who are struggling more than I am, I will keep you in my thoughts and send my best hopes and energy to you !

How are you feeling now

I feel really depressed a year after my TBI and quite upset about not getting back to normal. Fed up with neurologist just giving me pills and saying to rest

Also meant to mention that for my issues with sleep, I have been seeing a health psychologist through the brain injury program, it has helped a lot

Hi all, I am Glori. I was in a car accident in 01/2016 where the rental truck I was in was rear ended, the person that hit us had to be going at least 50 to 60 miles per hour, his hatchback totaled my rental truck. Immediately I noticed a change in me, I felt trickle of warm fluid go down the back side of my head, I went to neurologist and through all types of testing, was diagnosed with a mild brain injury. Everyday I feel not the same as who I was, and it does make me feel like I don’t belong in the world often, the mood changes, irritability, edgeyness is consuming to me, like I am constantly absent minded, in constant cauos, the total opposite of who I was.....as the gentleman said I have to have everything highly organized because if not, my day will go south, and I feel like havoc when that happens. I definitely don’t like plans changing on me with out me making peace with the plans and organizing every aspect of what I need to do for it to go well. I thank God for saving me and my now husband that day, we both could have been gone, but we are not. Thank you Lord. I now take part in a brain injury program that I have come to appreciate having, I feel heard, and more importantly I am certain that I will share how I feel until I get the help I need. I have psuedobarber effect, and when i sit at street lights I feel like I am drifting backwards, I also stray away from socializing for fear of someone noticing my memory and word finding problems, I often feel depressed and oddly excited at times. While I know that my life has changed for ever I look at the positive everyday, I get up and try all over, knowing my limitations helps me to be a much better planner than I ever was. I wanted to thank everyone for sharing, sometimes I feel all alone with how I feel because I’m the one thinking the way I do know, but I thank God everyday, and before I go to sleep I thank him for letting me get through the day. God bless and much love

Hi Glori
I have the same set of events and mine was 2015.i am feeling it doesn't get better and a burden to all those around me the lack of being able to remember things messes with me constantly. You aren't alone though just to let you know. Good luck on your journey

Hit by car at age 7. TBI along with a few other things.
Age 61 now. Have never been so called normal. I could always see a difference in the way I handled life situations. Dealt with stressful situations. Never really cared for group situations. I believe due to sensory overload.
But I do have to say this.
I am grateful to God for looking out for a nobody like me.
I have my own small business.
Which I can manipulate my days if Im having a hard one.
I learned I have to have everything in order or planned out. I don't handle uncertainty well. I have to know what I am getting into.
The more I learn what makes me tick. The better life gets.
Hang in there.
God has your back.

I related to your comment, symptoms and concerns. And I also liked your ending, because God has also been my fortress and ever present help. My injury occurred and work and they have been terrible, hospital as well -real bad. I mention that because it has created a lot of uncertainty and stress which has affected my recovery.

It is so good to hear you have your own small business and that has crossed my mind, as has a lot of other things. I find that having to deal with the employer causes me to be depressed. I find it takes awhile to become optimistic again - this affects my productivity - so I also related when you said being in business allowed you to control your time off.

This looks like a good site - can you recommend any others?

I already had a diagnosis of PTSD, ADHD, among other issues prior to my severe TBI 3-4 years ago. I was in a motorcycle accident. They literally sewed my brain back into my skull. I was in a coma. I had brain drains, was on an IV, and was processing through a catheter when I regained consciousness. The depression I have been experiencing has been debilitating at the least.....My freinds tell me constantly how well I'm doing. They don't see the deficits I'm experiencing. Having constant thoughts of how much better the world would be without me don't help.....My personality has changed. My logic process has changed. I can't seem to get anything accomplished. My sleep schedule and patterns are non existent. No "body clock" at all. Here I am at 0403 in the morning seeking knowledge and some resolution to a very challenging and difficult existence. Any help would be appreciated. The EMT that helped save my life came to see me. He told me how thankful and glad
he was that I lived. I'm trying to share in his enthusiasm.....
I believe that we are created to be overcomers.... I'd sure like to see the evidence of that today. Feeling like I'm grasping at straws is no way to continue. I'm willing to do the work....I just don't know where to start.

I understand some things of head injury. And people do change
Never give up.. playing brain games and doing stuff..etc..our brains are unique. Keep. Thoughts good.

I am so sorry! I know how hard it is. I was hit by a full sized Toyota Tundra pickup truck going 40 MPH while riding my bicycle. I am suffering from SEVERE depression and anxiety 8 years later.

I had drunk driver hit me head on years ago. Depression now and cannot seem to get it under control. Any good medications?

Spring of 2013 went over the handle bars at 80 mph on my motorcycle. Broke my hand and had a TBI with bleeding on the brain. Fall of 2013, depression like nobody's business (had never had depression before, ever). Got through that winter (don't know how). Fall 2014, worse depression. Doctors, meds ( Citalopram ). Spring, totally manic (probably due to meds). Fall 2015 even worse depression, so switch to Effexor. Another manic spring (2016). Like totally manic. Switch to Depakene (mood stabilizer) that summer. Depression in the fall. Out of ideas. Getting bad. Doc tries Lithium (another mood stabilizer). Eureka. Other than the side effects, depression and mania are GONE. Been two years without any problems. Side effects are minor compared to the depression (the mania never bothered me, LOL...), I have skin issues, constant thirst, runny nose, massive weight gain, thyroid issues (have to take Synthroid), avoidance of thrill type hobbies and frequent urination. (also being tested for posssible liver and kidney issues). So Lithium for my biopolar disorder due to my TBI. Or Manic depressive disorder. They don't know what to call it. Seeing the Doc today to talk about reducing and finally stopping. If I end up needing it for life, so be it. But if I can get off it, would be even better.

Thanks for sharing. I had a car accident March 3, 1996. I was hit by a city bus. I was 17 and a senior in high school. I was released from the hospital on my 18th birthday and needless to say I never went back to school. I was in a coma for 17 days. Fractured my lumbar vertebrae, had a collapsed lung, fractured my hip and was on life support and a feeding tube. I had to learn how to walk, talk, eat/swallow, dress myself and basically start my life over as an adult. Fast forward 23 years I am married, have 2 children and have a job at a hospital. I have always struggled with depression and hopelessness. I smile BIG and everyone loves me at work but inside I am alone with thoughts. I don’t want to give up, I don’t know what to do! I hate medication because of the side affects! I hire my head on a bar at work in September and have been off work for about 7 weeks. I know I will go back to work soon and I’m freaked out about it. Talk therapy, PT again, Doctor visits, I feel burnt out! Not this again. I see a neurologist in December. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone!!!!! A TBI is real and it is hell

Stephanie, thank you for sharing your story. I kind of know how you feel. I got a severe brain injury when I was 13 and haven't been the same since. I'm 15 years old now. Even though my experience is not nearly as challenging as yours, I can relate. I don't know if you believe in God or not, but I do. I believe that He loves you and knows the exact pain that you feel. I hope and pray that you get the help you need. You can be happy again. Don't ever give up. You have so much to live for! Thank you for sharing apart of you. You are loved.

Like you, I haven't got a clue where to start. I swear by now I've done more research on tbi symptoms than any Doctor I talk to, and my visits turn into me telling them what I believe may be best, and they just nod.
Though your injury sounds more severe, some symptoms sound the same. For instance, 15min ago I felt the need to jump out of this moving truck with my wife driving and kid in the back. No rhyme or reason, just broke down and needed an escape, which led me to searching Dr. Google once more and came across your post.
Regarding emotional wellbeing, I'm finding Doctors don't do a damn thing but cover their own ass. But online forums regarding the matter where people usually respond quickly relating to your symptoms is a relief somehow.
Hope you find the answers you're looking for. I'll be checking back here frequently.

I can relate. I hear from others how great I'm doing and how great I look but inside I'm lost and physically feel horrible. I made dramatic improvements within first two years but five years later depression has really set in. It comes and goes and I've found new things I enjoy doing but it's hard to find people who can relate to what it's like.

Whatever improvement I experienced after my TBI was within the first year or two, since then with limited legal and health insurance resources things have been going steadily downhill. The worst part was being prescribed addictive meds that made things worse by so called professional MD PhD's. 

We have lost years of our lives due to doctors who don't understand how to treat depression or to look for links with head injuries and testosterone. I'd encourage everyone to go to as many different doctors as possible -- searching for answers. Never trust one. Our primary care physician was wonderful but too cautious in prescribing therapeutic doses. The first (idiot) psychiatrist suggested shock therapy as the only remaining answer, without asking if there was a past head injury (we left him). And that same psychiatrist never suggested medical checks. A head injury, even 20 years ago can lead to depression. Any professional worth their salt would ask lots and lots of questions and order tests. Check testosterone, check family history, check concussion history -- sadly, we have to be our biggest advocates now.

What do you do when the medications have made you unwell, and there is no longer any trust in Doctors? I was nearly killed by a neuroscientist pulling me off an ssri way too fast. They are known for increasing suicide and that's all over the press these days.  I got better with a herbalist - unfortunatately other people got me off those herbs and I went back to square one.

Herbs should be used from the word go, and not these hellish chemicals that make other's huge profits. Psychiatry joined at the wallet with big pharmer.

I have suffered a brain injury 2 years ago which was caused by an accident in which there was a rapid deceleration and there was freezing waters so the body and brain suffered hypoxia. . There was someone who tried to revive me but I was not responding and was taken to hospital where they got the resuscitation team to help bring me back to life. I am now suffering from the eyes and ears not registering anything that I do to the brain. I have lost all my memories of my life and now cannot take in anything new. I would like some kind of Help With This But The Doctors Dont Seem To Listen In This Country Where As You Try And Seek HELP In Another Country And The Brain professor Understands You. Depression is not something that all GP's understand and they should not be in the profession if they don't. I feel let down by the GP'.

My son was on a motorbike in Thailand last November 2013 when he was attacked by eleven teenagers ages 13 to 19 on seven motorbikes.  They went after my son, knocked him off his motorbike and they proceeded to surround him and repeatedly kicked him and hit him with a beer bottle until they thought he was dead.  A witness called police and ambulance.  My son was unconscious and was transferred to a hospital and placed in ICU/in a coma/intubated and unable to breathe on his own, a collapsed lung, four broken ribs and many areas where the skin was sheared off of him all on the right side.  His main diagnosis DAI (diffuse axonal injury).  He went through hell and back after coming out of the coma and had to be vest restrained and wrist and ankle restraints for a long, long time.  I went to Thailand when he was first injured thinking it was to say that I loved him and to tell him goodbye but by the grace of God he did not die.  I had him placed in a US hospital where he was still in unstable condition and needed much therapy.  Now, it is July 2014 , eight months after the attack.  My son's mind and his thinking goes in ten different ways, he is depressed most of the time, has headaches, legs hurt, he feels helpless, becomes easily aggitated and now has no therapy, he is out of meds except his Depakote so being off medication and unable to see a neuro specialist and psychiatrist etc.makes life difficult for him and for me.  We are hoping he will be approved for disability so he can get the help he needs.  My son's depression has not gotten any better since he learned to walk so I am praying for him that he will get the help he needs.  It seems after reading BrainLine there are many many others suffering from depression and it would be truly great if many readers would write in and tell us what you did to help yourself to get better.

That is so hard. I'm sorry. I haven't found a solution yet either. If I ever do, I'll be sure to tell you. How is your son now? Has he gotten any better? Sending prayers your way.

TBI in 1994. CBT and medications. I honestly don't think it is treatable. It is not as debilitating as at first but still a struggle.

CBT is nothing new for depression of TBI survivors. Its been around for 20 plus years. I suffered my TBI in 1991 and recieved CBT treatment for a year and I still suffer from TBI related depression.
I am a TBI survivor with symptoms of depression. The NIH is currently studying the effectiveness of CBT as a treatment for TBI survivors with depression: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/nct00878150?term=life+improvement