Is There a Link Between Suicide and Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans will enter emergency rooms this year to receive treatment for a traumatic brain injury. Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), are the most common TBI seen by health care providers.

Even mild traumatic brain injuries, if sustained repeatedly, are capable of causing long-term mental health problems and cognitive deficits. Recent deaths and lawsuits in the realm of professional sports have sparked a debate on whether or not professional athletes are safe from the negative effects of repeated mild-TBIs.

TBIs can cause mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. A link between suicide and TBIs is not yet well understood by scientists, but experts in the field of neuroscience are continuing to look for answers. Some health care professionals speculate that people who have sustained a TBI feel uncomfortable in situations they once felt comfortable in, and the change may create a feeling of detachment and a desire to isolate.

What is Being Done to Find Answers?

Researchers working out of Boston University are attempting to find the connection between mental illness and TBIs by studying chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease found in athletes. So far, the researchers have already found CTE in the brains of six high school athletes who had committed suicide. However, the researchers are quick to point out that they have yet to find conclusive information on the strength of the relationship between CTE and suicide.

Health care professionals affiliated with George Washington University are urging athletic departments and professional sports organizations to adopt policies that will broaden the focus of the physical health of athletes to include mental health.

Metier Law Firm has been a long-time advocate for those who have sustained a TBI. You can learn more about our highly experienced team of personal injury attorneys by visiting our Facebook, Google+ and Twitter pages.

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