TBI and Substance Abuse Often Go Hand-in-Hand

Learn why people with TBI are more prone to substance abuse and why being vigilant against addiction can be a life-long effort.

This is an excerpt from BrainLine's webcast Substance Abuse and TBI.

How many people with TBI actually have a history of substance abuse before their TBI? Among individuals who receive rehabilitation-- these are adolescents and adults--[John D Corrigan, Ph.D.] [Ohio State University] as many as half have prior histories of problems with alcohol or other drugs. What percentage of people who did not have a problem with addiction before their TBI became vulnerable to drugs and alcohol after their injury? We're not quite as certain about that number, but we think about 10 percent of everyone we treat in rehabilitation-- all the adults--about 10 percent will not have had any problem before, but will develop one at some point after their injury. So there's a window of time for vulnerability? There is both a window of time for vulnerability, but there's also--for those who've not had one before-- that, as they are facing the stressors of going home from the hospital with this injury, and the changes it's incurred, for some, the coping strategy--and not a good one-- may be to turn to drugs and alcohol. For others, it might be due to pain or other complications they have after their injury-- and it might include, actually, abuse of a prescription medication. So there is a definite vulnerability that we see immediately. But it's more than just immediate--it's also lifelong, we have to be vigilant.
Posted on BrainLine November 29, 2011.