This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on TBI and Depression. Dr. Jesse Fann discusses Why Do People Get Depression After TBI?

So, there are a number of reasons why people get depressed after a brain injury. There are a lot of contributors to it. The first one is that direct injury to the brain can impact areas, can affect areas of the brain that control emotions. And injuries to those areas can cause imbalances in the natural chemicals in a person’s brain. Those chemicals are called neurotransmitters.

And so there’s a biological reason why people have more depression after a brain injury. But there are also important psychological and social reasons. People after a brain injury have to adapt to a lot of losses: losses in functioning, losses in their roles. And a lot of the coping strategies that they’re used to are either not as easily accessible or just aren’t there.

People who have had a brain injury and suffer from depression often don’t look any different than how they were before their brain injury. So, people often don’t realize that they’re suffering, and this adds to the frustration that people have after a brain injury. And also, people with brain injuries often have a sense of stigma already and then adding to that people who don’t want to admit sometimes that they are depressed because they feel like that’s an added stigma on top of their brain injury.

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