Depression and Anxiety Common Even Years After TBI

Research Update: Depression and Anxiety Common Even Years After TBI

A brief summary of current research.

Psychiatric disorders following traumatic brain injury: Their nature and frequency

Whelan-Goodinson, R, Ponsford, J, Johnston, L and Grant, F (2009). Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Vol. 24(5), pp 324-332.

This research found that more than 60 percent of people with a brain injury had psychiatric disorders up to 5.5 years post-injury. Many of these were new cases of depression and anxiety and were not present prior to injury. The authors suggest that individuals with TBI should be screened for psychiatric disorders several times post-injury regardless of pre-injury psychiatric status, so that appropriate help can be offered.

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Posted on BrainLine January 25, 2010.

Comments (73)

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Replying to kickboxer: So sad for what happened to you. It will take a lot of time for you to get past this. Normal to go through anger & blame, it's all part of the privilege of brain injury. But you will get through it, be patient as you can & listen to your body

9 months post mTBI, knocked unconscious in kickboxing by overhand punch to left temporal lobe, second concussion in same spot within a week (first no loss of consciousness in sparring), third in less than 6 weeks. Angry at myself for being uneducated about the risks of repeat concussions and even more angry at my coach for letting me fight in spite of the risk. Laying blame won't help however. For the past 9 months, dream like state of derealisation, chronic debilitating anxiety, burning extremities, chest pain, palpitations, nausea, chronic fatigue, major depression, chronic insomnia (I literally cannot fall asleep unless it's at bedtime and then have early awakenings with inability to return to sleep = extreme torture). No meds or therapy have helped thus far. Suicidal thoughts non stop, I've even researched the shit out of carotid artery compression and exit hoods as supposed peaceful methods but cannot bring myself to do it. I have the will to live and have a loving supporting fiance but I don't feel human anymore, cannot work, cannot socialise and symptoms so crippling that I feel there's no hope for me and I'm trapped in a never ending nightmare. Most days I feel like in going insane. I just want the torment and suffering to end...

Over 30 years ago I had a Motorcycle accident.  Resulting in severe head injury and a badly broken leg!  I nearly bled to death but was saved by NHS!  With trauma to my brain, the original prognosis was that if I survived the first 24 hours, I was going to a 'vegetable!'  I had originally, for the first 20 years tried unsuccessfully to find work, but over and over again, I was denied the opportunity.  This has led to on several occasions, suicide attempts!  30 years after this life changing event I only found out yesterday, a name to which I can finally state happened to me!  Only by entering the name of my condition into Google, did I find this sight!  

Now I can feel that it wasn't only myself that's recovering from this...

25 years after mva severe depression and anxiety. No medication of help. Where now?

23 yers old, severe TBI in a MVC resulting in a 3 day coma about 2 years ago. Major insomnia issues, never experienced aggression or had seizures. My fine motor and gross motor are now acceptable but still improving. I've worked my speech back to normal, I'm back at the gym, and will be finishing my degree this year. The worst part of it are 'episodes' of negativity. They're becoming less frequent and I'm realizing they're usually far-fetched. Still have mild-moderate memory issues but I'm still working on it. I have one life to live, I'm not going to waste tome waiting to see what's going to get better on its own. It's still the same as before the accident, wanna be stronger? Work out. Wanna be smarter? Study. Good luck to everybody, this sh*t sucked!

My traumatic brain injuries are the result of 21 ECT. Why is a procedure that injures the brain CAUSING anxiety and depression used by so- called doctors to "treat" depression?I have severe cognitive dysfunction and short and long term memory problems and feel apathetic and hopeless as a result of the ECT. The depression and anxiety are unbearable. They destroyed the person I used to be.

I got injured 30 yr.s ago and it is still hard for me to tell any boss I have how to accommodate me to help my inability to track, w/ memory. Debbie

After reading these comments I thank u for sharing u r talking straight to me Knowing I am not alone is so supportive I am 63 post closed head injury from MVA 15 mos ago and other internal contusions but I am not the same I had to retire early as A RN and Professor and I am much better but the depression and anxiety and apathy r new to me to handle Zoloft and Atarax help a lot but I have definite nemort loss fear to go places I don't know or travel far I pack backed alone in Europe yearly I want that person back I am thankful to b alive and what helps me is fighting family friends and part time work schedule to keep a Low Energy State it's all I can take Go Forward and adapt U R ALIVE

Brain injury after car accident (4 years ago, now 30). Struggling to be positive- moves you on emotionally and physically, after 5 weeks of a positive period of time. The contrast is tantalizing- you know how you can be when you're in a useful state of mind, got to find something to get you back there!

I was hit in the face by a line drive baseball in a men's ball game at 12... hit by a car driving a bike and went thru a windshield at 15... and hit as a pedestrian at 16 and kept in the hospital for 2 weeks following a severe concussion.  Today I'm 50 and am somewhat functional as long as I'm on 150mg of Zoloft, but still stuck with what seems to be lifelong depression, social anxiety and self harming issues.  I see a psychiatrist and I get the feeling even he doesn't understand.  I feel very alone in this battle with myself.  Thank God I have a wife who understands.

I completely understand, just trying to fit in a normal life. IT this isn't your normal. Life has wasted as years gone by. For me I need my life back. How is the question .

16 years post.  Terrible depression and anxiety.  I just can't seem to get fixed - I am broken.

It has been 11 months since my TBI, I'm from Dublin Ireland, I fell 20 feet and went into a coma for 10 days, had 5 bleeds to the brain and cracked my skull in 3 places, I was doing so well, up until last month, my ex had passed away and that's when the brain zaps started, I kept thinking oh it's a seizure but the seizures never came, so I started having panic attacks, I'm still afraid it's a possibility of seizures, I guess I'm too afraid to admit that yes it is Anxiety! I wish I had my old me back 

My TBI occured on Dec 6th 2014.  I was told it was mild post accident.  A drunk driver t-boned me at 50 mph and totaled my Honda accord.  He was driving a Ford Expedition.  As the months passed, I thought I was feeling better and better.  I was just feeling less "foggy".  Over one year later, work is awful, and I am afraid I may be put off active duty.  I am in the Army, but my command does not seem to care that I had a TBI.  They just act as if I am a bad Soldier. I am still having cognitive issues that affect my memory, my reasoning, and my ability to get my job done.  I can't concentrate, I can't read anymore, I can't have any kind of relationship currently.  If it was mild, thank goodness it was not moderate or severe.


It has been one year almost to the day since I had a motorcycle accident in Thailand. I still live here, but the level of help that is available is shocking because men don't typically realize or admit that they may have such issues. So the help that is available is feeble at best and seems like I know more about my condition than they do. And the cost is phenomenal. Insurance here doesn't cover these types of conditions. Problem is that every aspect of my life has changed dramatically. My work performance has suffered dramatically due to lack of memory, focus and decision making. My company owners are very understanding and compassionate about everything, but sooner or later, they will loose their patients with my lackluster performance at a senior management level. It's not like I do mindless work, but every decision I make either shows profit or loss and before the accident, it was all profit and I was looked on as a man with a bright future. But now I feel like I am a spare tire with a slow leak. I don't want to leave the house on weekends, I have had anxiety (border lining panic) attacks that prevents me from leaving the house because I can't handle shopping malls and large groups comfortably. For work, I have have to force myself to visit clients and most of all, my family is watching the family leader and provider loose confidence. I'm not a suicidal type person and it hasn't come to that point as of yet, but I have truly had enough of living like this. Just wish that a trained professional was available here to ease the pain of coping with daily life and become the man I was before.

i feel the same i think it has been 6 maybe 9 years since my ruptured aneurysm no better very sad all the time and want to disappear from my life guilt for my family keeps me here no meds can touch my pain all waking hours the worst head pain help

daniel d

41 years of living with a severe brain injury that happened when I was 12. Depression still dogs me. Aggression not so much. Insomnia TOO OFTEN. Executive Function all screwed up. Apathy and Isolation are my daily enemies. How do I deal with it? Meds for sleep (Trazodone) Exercise and meditation for the depression, apathy, despair. Attend spiritual service religiously (twice a week). Use to do list to try and get things done. Try and get closer to God though surrender to his Will. Good luck everybody.

Try 20 years

I slipped and fell on black ice, hitting my head on the pavement. My son thought I had dropped my laptop - that is the sound my skull made hitting the pavement. I felt tingly when it happened and had a bit of shock. Fuzzy brain for about a month, but I "powered thru." I have never been someone who gives into any physical or mental challenge. Insomnia - brutal insomnia that wakes me after two hours of sleep and just turns the brain switch on. Irritability, anxiety and irrational bursts of anger. Moments of despair and feelings of hopelessness. It is only 7 weeks post injury for me, and I am scared this will last a long time. Rest does not help. What works?

I miss my old self, Now i cant barely talk to a girl because. Shy dont talk much. Its like been stuck in the past

I miraculously survived a severe motorcycle accident 8 months ago. I am thankful for wearing a top of the line helmet which saved my life. None the less I has 4 meninges of my brain bleeding and in a 9 day coma. I lost memory of 2 months. Now I deal with overwhelming depression and anxiety around crowds. I truly miss my old self. I can relate to these articles.

my husband is dealing with many of the things you mentioned. It's very frustrating for him as he tries to be the best officer he can be, but feels he is always falling short and doesn't have the abilities he use to have. I think it will cause him to retire sooner than he really wants to. His moods change a lot daily. God help us all-family and military member.
It's hard trying to be someone you used to be. I feel the same about certain things, but I am not the same man I used to be. Nine years later and I am still searching for my youth, it seems to have vanished. Lost and empty is how I feel a lot of the time. Imagine for a minute waking up one day and looking in the mirror to see yourself but can't recall to this point in your life. That can be an everyday thing for someone with a TBI. I think, this isn't me, at least not what I used to be. My friends and family can see it. They get to deal with all my BS moodswings, unwarranted anger and aggression, depression, insomnia, and anxiety. That and my obvious cognitive deficits can make life very frustrating. Even the smallest of tasks can be extremely overwhelming emotionally and sometimes I can't help but breakdown and cry, punch things, and then feel guilty about what I've done. Is it a chemical imbalance or is it pathological? Will it last forever? I miss who I used to be, to be able to set goals and achieve them, to be able to sleep regularly, to not be depressed and anxious. Guess you just have to keep on trying. I dont feel it gets easier, you just get used to it.