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Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression

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Background: Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression

The criteria that define depression likely encompass a heterogeneous set of illnesses. While no single feature is seen in all depressed patients, common features include sadness, persistent negative thoughts, apathy, lack of energy, cognitive distortions, nihilism, and inability to enjoy normal events in life. Especially in a first episode, individuals and families may not recognize the changes as part of an illness, making identification and self-reporting of the condition challenging. Some deficits after head injury can be falsely attributed to neuroanatomical or pathophysiological changes of TBI rather than to depression, leading to misdiagnosis and a missed opportunity for effective treatment. Suicide, the most salient consequence of depression, is usually impulsive and extremely difficult to predict and prevent. In order to recognize and treat post-TBI depression, as well as to prevent its recurrence, active screening is essential.