A traumatic brain injury is a term used in the medical field describing an injury to the brain. The injury happens due to an impact of some kind. It can be a fall, a car accident that causes you to strike your head, being struck by an object, or being near an explosion. TBI is sometimes completely recoverable. Other times, it is life-changing or even fatal.
It is not uncommon for a victim of TBI to suffer depression after the brain injury. It may be rather quick, or it could come on years after the injury, and lasting a very long time. In all cases, it requires medical intervention,
What is depression?
Depression is a feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of motivation. Depressed people sometimes sleep excessively and sometimes have trouble sleeping at all. There are changes in the diet (eating too much or not enough) Life loses its meaning, and things that use to bring you happiness and joy, no longer do,
Everyone gets the “blues” sometimes. This is especially true for the person dealing with TBI. They do not understand why these things happened to them, but depression is severe and much harsher than feeling a bit down,
Depression and TBI
Research tells us, that of people who have not had TBI, one in every ten people will suffer from depression. However, when the people researched are TBI victims the number of depressed people rises from one in ten – to three in ten. Further, age and gender have nothing to do with the depression. Traumatic Brain Injury seems to be the only changing factor. Where the brain was injured and how badly the brain was injured has every effect in the severity and length of the depression.
What to do
If you notice you are getting depressed, do not ignore it. It does not matter when you received your injury. Depression can come on any time after the injury (even years after). Report it to your doctor. Depression can be treated, with therapy and medication. The longer you wait, the harder it is to treat, Depression rarely goes away on its own.
Document dates and times and a feeling of depression on a scale of 1-10. Depression often affects our memory and this information is good for your doctor to have.
Eat well. Avoid salt, sugar, and fatty foods. You may not want to eat, so eat only at meal time and only highly nutritious foods.
Do not drink alcohol.
Drink plenty of water.
Rest, but do not stay in bed all day. You must exercise.
Expose yourself to the sunshine.
If you begin feeling suicidal, call 911.
When we are depressed, we have to understand that our brain is healing. We cannot go by how we feel, but by what we know is good for us. Of course, we have a right to be angry, hurt, and sad because we suffered injury. But do not allow yourself to stay there too long. You have to work for recovery. Your doctor will help you and soon your depression will lift and you will feel like yourself again.