Why head injuries can cause depression and 10 ways to recover
Our brain imaging work at Amen Clinics shows us that mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a major cause of psychiatric problems such as depression, but most people are unaware of it.
In fact, SPECT brain scans of our patients show that approximately 40% of them have already had a head injury. We usually have to ask them several times before they remember an important event.
I had one patient who repeatedly said he had never had a head injury. After being asked the fifth time, he had one of those flashback moments. Suddenly he remembered how he had fallen from the second floor window when he was 5 years old.
Other patients have forgotten flying through the windshield after a car accident, falling out of the bed of a truck, or passing out after falling from the top bunk. However, others remember a past trauma but feel it was too insignificant to recall.
Most patients have no idea that their depression, anxiety, or lack of concentration may be partially the result of an event in their past. Unfortunately, very few mental health professionals recognize this connection because most psychiatrists never look at the brain.