A traumatic brain injury can be a stressful and often life-changing event that may alter a person’s emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. Unfortunately, a common effect of suffering a traumatic brain injury is depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness, despair, hopelessness that interferes with everyday life. Even so, while suffering through this traumatic event and depression, many people can cope in healthy ways.
How a Brain Injury Affects Your Mental Health
A traumatic brain injury is defined as an injury to the brain. The injury can be either closed or open. Closed injuries damage the skull and the area just under the skull bone without piercing into the brain. Open injuries involve a severity where damage to the head results in exposure of brain tissue. Whether the injury is open or closed, these events alter many survivors’ lives and mental health.
After a traumatic brain injury, people may experience trouble with memory, concentration, emotions, sleep, and comfort. They may notice changes in their interest level while working or with hobbies they used to enjoy before the event. For some who had a long-term history with alcohol or drugs before their head injury and those with depression before their head injury, these problems are often worse.
Seeking care and proper treatment after a traumatic event is essential for every survivor. The recovery times and quality of life after a traumatic event can vary drastically, depending on the injury severity and what took place. Those with residual trauma and injury symptoms have a higher risk of falling into a depression in the recovery period. In fact, depression is so common that about half of brain injury survivors experience depression within the subsequent year of the injury.
What Does Depression Look Like?
Depression is a state of being sad and hopeless for a period of time, and it can range from mild to severe. Depression is more than just feeling down; it’s a serious mental illness that prevents people from functioning as they normally would. Here are some common symptoms of depression:
- Sleep problems or changes in sleep patterns
- Weight changes or not eating properly
- Lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy before the injury
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and anxiety
- Unusual irritability or anger
- Feeling like there is no point to living or suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Despite depression being a common effect of experiencing a traumatic brain injury, there are resources that survivors can use to heal and work through their process. Knowing who to contact and knowing about your options is a great way to get started in helping a loved one or yourself cope with depression.
Coping with Depression after a Brain Injury
There are a number of ways people cope with depression, and a lot of them apply whether you have had a traumatic brain injury or not.
See Your Medical Doctor
While you may have sought medical care immediately following your brain injury, you’ll want to keep up with your medical appointments in the recovery process as well. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, you should not ignore this. Seeing a doctor can help you figure out the right treatment options, varying in types of medication and therapies that can help with depression after a brain injury.
Talk with Those You Can Trust
Having friends and family around to help you during and after the effects of a traumatic brain injury will help you cope with depression. It is important not to isolate yourself or feel lonely while recovering. There are also support groups available for people who have been affected by a traumatic brain injury. These groups can provide emotional support and practical advice on coping with depression. Seeking a mental health therapist can also help you identify your emotions and manage depression with a professional that can offer insight in the right direction.
Self-care is essential because you need to make time for yourself after a head injury. You will need rest to recover from your brain injury. Sleep, which can be challenging with depression, can be one of the best ways to heal from a head injury, and it helps your overall well-being. Practicing self-care and talking to those who care about you encourages you to get through the difficult days.
Many of the self-care techniques that can help are:
- Taking on new hobbies
- Understanding mood changes and taking time to talk it out
- Plan alone time and rest for yourself
- Plan fun activities and new things to keep yourself busy during the day
- Practice mindfulness and try meditation
- Keep a healthy diet and regular sleep schedule
- Keep up with doctor’s visits and therapy sessions
Many people undergo difficulties following traumatic brain injuries, but utilizing healthy techniques and coping mechanisms can change the effects. A brain injury can result from falls, violence, motor vehicle crashes, or even sports injuries. No matter the case, you or your loved one need help and guidance to recover and properly heal from a traumatic brain injury.
Professional Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of JG Winter in California Are Here to Help You
When a traumatic brain injury occurs, there can be life-changing and complex challenges ahead. Depending on the severity and the event, no survivors’ stories will be alike. At the law office of JG Winter in California, our experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers are readily available to hear your story and consult with you on the next steps in taking action for your traumatic brain injury.
We understand the traumatic effects transcend past the day of the incident, and we want to give you the best chance at taking action for your injury. Give us a call at our JG Winter law office by dialing (844) 734-2626 or contact us using our online form, and someone from our team will reach out to help.