This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on TBI and Depression. Dr. Chuck Bombardier discusses Why Is It Important to Treat Depression in People with TBI?

One of the reasons I think it’s so important to recognize and treat depression is that I think depression really colors almost everything in a person’s life who has depression after brain injury. It colors their view of themselves. It affects their ability to return to work. It affects their thinking abilities, their – literally, their cognitive abilities are worse. It affects how they relate to people.

It affects their energy, sleep, appetite – probably affects their pain and so forth. So it colors so many things. It’s linked to so many negative things in their lives that it’s so important to recognize that part and treat it, because I think we can help a person in many different ways if we just aggressively treat this particular problem. It has so many – so many distant effects.

So a really important reason for treating depression is that I think it has potential for affecting a person’s overall recovery. So for example, if they’re working with a physical therapist, and they have fatigue, they’re not able to work with the physical therapist as well, because they’re tired. If we treat their depression, they’re going to be more able to work effectively with their team.

If they have cognitive problems, they can’t – they can’t pay attention, they can’t follow information very well, they lack concentration and so forth – treating the depression could help them as well, could help them recover. And similarly, in a process of trying to go back to work or school, maybe the person feels hopeless. They don’t really engage with the – with the vocational rehabilitation counselor.

If we treat the depression, maybe they’re going to be more hopeful and invigorated and positive about returning to work. And so for lots of different reasons, we think that depression could really negatively impact a person’s overall recovery and that treating depression could help improve their recovery overall.

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