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Depression and traumatic brain injuries: What victims should know

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) come with a host of problems — many of them physical and cognitive in nature. However, the emotional impact of a TBI cannot be overlooked.

Researchers have discovered that patients who have traumatic brain injuries suffer from depression about three times as often as people without TBIs. The more severe the injury, the more likely that the victim will eventually develop depression — although it can take up to a year or longer for symptoms to develop.

If you suffered a TBI (or your loved one has suffered from one), here are the signs of depression you need to recognize:

1. A loss of interest in normal activities

If you no longer take joy in your favorite hobbies, in the company of your friends or in the time you normally spend with your family, that’s a huge indicator of a troubled emotional state.

2. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness

Everyone feels sad, depressed or just “down” from time to time, but it isn’t normal to experience those feelings most of the time. If you often feel “empty” inside or have persistent anxiety, that’s a sign of depression.

3. Irritability and restlessness

Are you snapping at people in a way that’s uncharacteristic? Do you find it hard to concentrate, to settle down to watch a movie or even focus on a simple task? While a TBI can affect your mood and your ability to concentrate, you may also be experiencing symptoms of untreated depression.

4. Changes in your sleeping habits

Have you developed insomnia? Are you sleeping too much? Either can be a problem that points to a mood disorder.

If you recognize these symptoms, seek help. Depression can often be alleviated through a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy, although it may take time to see some improvement.

The long-term consequences of a traumatic brain injury — and the costs of dealing with those consequences — are why it is so important to get experienced representation when you’re dealing with your legal claim.