An interesting analysis in the December 2007 issue of Brain Injury looks at the role of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the development of severe, long-term psychiatric disorders.
While a clear causal link remains unclear, the authors found that psychiatric syndromes are consistently present at an elevated rate following TBI. Survivors of TBI are particularly susceptible to major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. While evidence of a direct link is lacking, the authors suggest that there may be consistent critical periods for the post-injury development of psychiatric disorders that have yet to be identified. There is evidence, however, that TBI cases remain at risk for years following injury. Non-organic factors, including pre-morbid personality traits and post-injury psychological reactions to disability and trauma, seem to play a role in the development of post-TBI psychiatric disorders. Treatment professionals dealing with TBI cases needed to be aware of the potential for the development of post-TBI psychiatric problems.