When Depression Is Not Depression After Brain Injury

Fatigue, problems with sleep or concentration, and lack of energy or interest may be their own symptoms, not depression.

Many symptoms after brain injury can appear as if they are depression, but they may or may not be depression. So, being sad all the time or most of the time, being tearful, with problems with sleep and energy and concentration--they could all be explained by depression. However, in many circumstances, those other symptoms are other brain injury symptoms. So, having fatigue, sleep disorders, cognitive problems such as tension and memory are separate problems from depression. You can treat the depression, but those problems may persist. Some people may appear depressed because they don't want to do things, but really it's apathy. It's lack of interest. It's not being sad, which is a separate problem which needs a different type of intervention and treatment.
Posted on BrainLine June 9, 2011.

Produced by Vicky Youcha and Ashley Gilleland, BrainLine.

Comments (1)

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Thank you Dr Silver, I am just trying to make that exact point in a response to an opponent in a medico-legal case. It causes me concern that when someone presents with depressive symptomatology after TBI, medication is seen as the treatment of choice, when the evidence base is not strong enough in this clinical population.