Experiencing post-concussion syndrome can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms. These can range from dizziness to headaches to depressions. And these unfortunate effects can last from just a couple of weeks to many months after sustaining a concussion.
So what is post-concussion depression and how can you treat it? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that’s caused by violent shaking that leads to the brain hitting the inside of the skull. It can also be caused by a blow to the head.
Due to the way that concussions can occur, they are among the most common injuries caused by car accidents. Sustaining a concussion can lead to a very difficult time in one’s life. You will likely have to deal with insurers and settlement discussions.
Not to mention the physical and mental trauma.
What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
There is no one test that you can take to prove that you suffer from post-concussion syndrome. Your healthcare physician may request a scan of your brain take place so that they can check from other possible issues that would be causing your symptoms.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) may take place so that your doctor can look for any structural brain problems. People who suffer from excessive dizziness may have to consult with a ear, nose, and throat doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome?
There are a variety of symptoms one might experience after a concussion. These symptoms can include:
- Blurry Vision
- A decrease in smell and taste
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Light and noise sensitivity
Depression is another common symptom of post-concussion syndrome. Let’s learn more about it below.
What Is Depression?
A person who is depressed often feels despair, loss, sadness, or hopelessness. These feelings don’t go away over time and they can be severe enough that they affect the person’s daily life. It becomes a cause for concern when a person feels depressed or loses interest in activities at least several days a week.
It’s estimated that over 16 million adults in America experience at least one depressive episode each year.
Some common symptoms of depression are:
- Loss of pleasure or interest in daily activities
- Changes in appetite or sleep
- Withdrawing from social life
- Speaking or moving more slowly
- Feeling hopeless, sad, or down
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or like a failure
- Trouble paying attention
- Lack of energy or general fatigue
- Feeling fidgety or restless
- Thoughts of suicide or death
After someone goes through a concussion, it’s normal for them to feel sad. However, an extended period of sadness or difficulty enjoying things that they used to enjoy can be primary signals that they are depressed.
What Causes Post-Concussion Depression?
There are a variety of factors that can lead to someone becoming depressed after sustaining a concussion. These causes vary from one individual to another.
One cause for post-concussion depression can from the physical changes that occur in the brain after the injury. A person may become depressed after the part of their brain that controls their emotions is injured. Someone can become depressed when there are changes in the levels of natural chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters.
They may also be depressed due to their emotional response to their injury. After undergoing a concussion, it can be difficult to adjust to the disability. The effects of a concussion can be short-lived or they might last for the rest of the person’s life. A person may feel overwhelmed by these changes and become depressed.
Another reason why a person might become depressed after a concussion is that they were already at a high risk of depression. A person may be at risk of depression due to their family or personal history or inherited genes. And the concussion can trigger the depression to fully come on.
How to Treat Post-Concussion Depression?
If you are experiencing symptoms of post-concussion depression, you should seek the help of a professional as soon as possible. It would be ideal for you to speak with a health care provider who has experience working with concussions.
It’s important that people who are depressed understand that depression is not an indicator of weakness and it isn’t anybody’s fault. Depression can be a medical complication just like diabetes or high blood pressure. A person who’s depressed can’t get rid of it by “toughening up” or thinking it away.
Someone who suffers from post-concussion depression would be wise to get treatment early so that they can better prevent future symptoms and suffering. If you have suicidal thoughts, you should call the 24-hour National Crisis Hotline, 911, or go straight to an emergency room.
The positive news is that being depressed is not a hopeless situation. By utilizing psychotherapy treatments and medications, or a mix of the two, you can gain control over your depression.
There are a variety of counseling and psychotherapy treatment options for people suffering from post-concussion depression. The most useful types of therapy tend to be ones that focus on a person’s everyday thinking and behavior.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, is used to help people learn how to alter the way in which they respond to certain stimuli. CBT aims to change the way a person feels, thinks, and behaves about how they see themselves and the world around them. CBT has been shown to help reduce depression in the general population as well as those who sustained TBI.
CBT can also help you with memory and thinking issues.
Behavioral Activation Therapy
This type of therapy is aimed to help people with depression to become more active so that they can get back to enjoying activities that bring them pleasure. The increase in activity should help boost a patient’s mood. By working with a professional therapist, you can come up with a routine of fun activities and then review how working on these activities affects your mood.
There is, unfortunately, a stigma in society with regards to people who take antidepressant medications. However, these treatments can be crucial the realigning the neurotransmitters in your brain. It’s also worth noting that you can’t get addicted to antidepressants.
And if antidepressants do help you with your depression symptoms, it’s worth knowing that you don’t have to take these medications for the rest of your life. Sometimes, these medications are so effective that a user can stop taking them after several months. Because each person’s mental state is unique, they should always consult with a doctor before taking or stopping their use of antidepressants.
Antidepressants can do more than just help you with your mood. They can alleviate other symptoms such as poor concentration, lack of appetite, low energy, and poor sleep. Some of these medications can even help with anxiety.
There are many different classes of antidepressants.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are some of the most effective medications when it comes to helping people with post-concussion depressants. Specifically, citalopram and sertraline are known to have some of the fewest side effects and they may even boost brain function.
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, are newer types of antidepressants that may be helpful to people with post-concussion depression. Venlafaxine is an example of a popular SNRI.
Medications to Avoid
There are certain antidepressants that people should avoid because they can have negative side effects for people who have sustained concussions. For example, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should generally be avoided. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) can help with pain or sleep complications at low doses but may have negative side effects at higher doses.
In general, combining medications with psychotherapy could be an effective strategy to gain control over your post-concussion depression.
Making a Personal Injury Claim for a Concussion
Following a car accident, diagnosing a concussion is the same as with any other injury. This means that your doctor will have to evaluate your condition and conclude that your concussion was caused or related to the accident. This is the first step to making a claim for damages.
If you are under the impression that your concussion was caused by the accident but your doctor is of the opposite opinion, then you won’t be able to file that claim. First, you would have to find another doctor who agreed with your belief. Only then could you add those damages to your claim.
Claims for Post-Concussion Syndrome
It can often be a struggle for people who are claiming damages for post-concussion syndrome. That’s because the symptoms of this syndrome are not as easy to recognize and describe. Insurance companies like it when they can settle cases that appear to be cut-and-dry.
For example, it’s easy for an insurer to prove that someone broke their nose in a car accident. The insurance company knows how to diagnose it, how long it takes to recover, and what the symptoms will likely be.
As we can see after reading the above article, we can tell that post-concussion syndrome is not as simple. It covers a wide range of ailments and complications. Depression itself can be hard to connect to one event and also to figure out how to compensate for it.
Because of these reasons, insurance companies may not offer the compensation that a plaintiff feels they deserve. And even if you find a doctor who agrees that you suffer from post-concussion syndrome, the insurance company may send you to a different doctor who disagrees.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
Because it can be so difficult to prove that you deserve compensation for post-concussion depression, you need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. Lawyers who have experience with these kinds of symptoms will know how to fight the insurance companies and get you the money that you deserve.
And if your case ends up going to trial, the attorney will be able to find experts and witnesses to corroborate the findings of your doctor.
Your best way to prevent suffering from post-concussion depression is to avoid the head injury in the first place. This is easier said than done.
There are certain measures you can take though in order to lower risk of getting a concussion. Whenever in a moving car, you should have your seatbelt fastened securely around you. Children under 13 will be at their safest when riding in the backseat.
Also, you should always wear a helmet when you are roller-skating, ice-skating, snowboarding, bicycling, in-line skating, skiing, or riding a motorcycle. For sports, you should wear a helmet whenever you’re playing baseball or softball, football, skateboarding, or horseback riding.
The Importance of Knowing About Post-Concussion Depression
Sustaining a concussion can be a traumatic event in itself. Having to through post-concussion depression can seem even more overwhelming. This is why it’s so important to know what to look for and how to treat it.
Just like how you can never ignore a concussion; you can never ignore post-concussion syndrome or depression. Even though a concussion may go away simply by getting plenty of rest, post-concussion syndrome likely won’t. By treating your ailments as early as possible, you will be more likely to get control of them.
Did you recently sustain injuries in a car accident? If so, you should take action immediately. Contact us today and see how we can help you!