If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, your risk of dying young may be elevated by 300%, according to a new research study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
It happened to pro athletes like Junior Seau and Ryan Freel — both of whom committed suicide and were diagnosed with serious brain injuries after their deaths.
So it’s worth asking: Who are the victims of TBIs, and how can you know if you’ve suffered such an injury?
Heightened Risk of Depression, Suicide
Recent research has confirmed earlier findings, including:
- TBI sufferers have a higher risk of mental health problems, including depression.
- The risk of suicidal behaviors increases in TBI patients.
- More mental health treatment and routine screenings are needed for individuals with TBIs.
Brain Injuries in the Military
TBIs hit military members especially hard:
- Suicide rates are higher among military personnel with even one mild TBI.
- Older veterans with mild TBIs are at increased risk of developing dementia later in life.
- Nearly 267,000 military personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq suffered a TBI, and many more went undiagnosed.
Where Do TBIs Happen?
In addition to sports and military service, TBIs also can happen:
- In a workplace.
- In a car accident, motorcycle accident, or bicycle crash.
- In an assault or violent crime.
- At work sites, especially in high-risk industries, including Construction, Fishing, Emergency medical services, Agriculture, and Forestry.
- In an office, if you trip, fall and strike your head on a desk or other hard surface.
Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury
A TBI happens during a hard hit to the skull and is a leading cause of serious injuries and deaths, especially among children and younger people. If you’ve suffered a TBI, there are 3 levels: Mild, Moderate, or Severe. Symptoms may include:
- Brief loss of consciousness.
- Balance problems or dizziness.
- Vomiting or nausea.
- Blurred vision and ringing in the ears.
- Confusion or disorientation.
- Drowsiness or tiredness.
- Sleep problems, including sleeping more than usual.
- Mood changes, depression or anxiety.
Get Immediate Attention After a TBI
If you or a loved one have experienced a blow to your head that could cause a brain injury, it’s important to get a doctor’s assessment as soon as possible. The next step is working with an experienced brain injury attorney.