Depression and Brain Injury
Depression is a common symptom after a stroke (one third of patients,) and after a Traumatic Brain Injury (over half of patients). Senator John Fetterman’s recent treatment for depression has prompted much discussion on this topic. There are of course several reasons for the association between brain injury and depression. Organic factors related to the injury itself may result in changes to brain chemistry (neurotransmitters) and cause depression. In addition, reactive depression after brain injury commonly relates to the patient’s awareness of how their skills, activities, and relationships may have been affected by their injury. Patients may experience a sense of loss and feel anxious about their future. In both cases, helpful treatment interventions are available including medications (mood stabilizers and anti-depressants), counseling and support groups.
Coping and adjustment can be a challenge after brain injury, and we encourage you to seek help. You are not alone. If you need assistance in finding support, please call BIAPA’s Brain Injury Resource Line at 1-800-444-6443. BIAPA also hosts an online Brain Injury Support Group on the third Thursday each month at 5 p.m. ET. Learn more at biapa.org/survivor-support.
Ann Marie McLaughlin
Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania