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Major Depression After a Traumatic Brain Injury

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Sustaining a brain injury can have serious effects on a person's health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that about 1.7 million people have a traumatic brain injury every year. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, involves an object hitting the head, which may or may not fracture the skull. Even if the object does not open the skull and directly injure the brain, the force from the impact can jar the head, causing damage to the brain. Falls account for 35.2 percent of traumatic brain injury cases, followed by 17.3 percent for motor vehicle accidents, according to the CDC.

The severity of a traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) noted that traumatic brain injury patients can experience fatigue, confusion and a loss of consciousness after the injury. Some patients may have changes in their mood or problems concentrating. Blurred vision can also occur with traumatic brain injury. In severe traumatic brain injury patients, patients can have increased confusion, seizures and repeated vomiting. Patients may not be able to wake up on their own, and can have slurred speech and a loss of coordination.

Of the estimated 1.7 million traumatic brain injury cases each year, the CDC noted that 275,000 people are hospitalized. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hospitalized traumatic brain injury patients are eight times more likely to develop major depression. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, defined major depression as a form of depression in which patients have five or more symptoms for at least two weeks. Patients with major depression can have mood changes, such as agitation, feeling hopeless and self-hate.

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EmpowHER Guest

Patients who have suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, as well as other neuro and orthopedic injury, often have severe upper or lower extremity movement impairments. In short they have difficulty in doing the everyday living tasks that others take for granted. On a practical treatment aspect, many brain and spinal cord injury patients do not have sufficient movement ability to enable them to do repetitive active tasks or the active tasks can not be customized to work on their specific motor, sensory or cognitive impairment. This may lead to frustration and then depression during rehabilitation. HandTutor glove and dedicated rehabilitation software uses biofeedback encourages customized intensive and motivating hand exercises after: Stroke, brain/ spinal cord injury, Cerebral Palsy, Orthopedic hand/ arm surgery even if the patient does not have sufficient movement ability to enable them to do repetitive active tasks. The HandTutor is now used in major rehabilitation clinics.

August 5, 2010 - 7:41am
EmpowHER Guest

Depression itself is a very disturbing condition to be in, besides suffering a traumatic brain damages is very depressing indeed. Today's world is full of people who are suffering depression due to various reason, most of which relate to either work related or family matters.

I guess people need to pay attention to self help therapies that teach you how to block unwanted or negative thoughts and allow you to focus on more proactive and positive outlook on life. Though they are many medicines also, i generally prefer to first start treatment the more natural way.

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June 23, 2010 - 12:23am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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