A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found that traumatic brain injury significantly increases the risk of suicide. According to a report in The Washington Post, researchers found that of the nearly 7.5 million people who make up the population of Denmark, more than 34,500 deaths between 1980 and 2014 were by suicide. About 10 percent of those who took their lives had also suffered a medically documented traumatic brain injury. This statistical analysis was done using the Danish Cause of Death registry.
Brain Injuries Should Get More Attention
One of the study’s authors, Trine Madsen, says individuals with mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions had an elevated suicide risk by about 81 percent. Individuals with severe brain injuries had an even higher suicide risk that was more than double that of someone with no injury. The three factors that most strongly predicted the risk of suicide were the severity of the brain injury, a first incidence occurring in young adulthood and discharge from a hospital for a brain injury in the previous six months. These risks, they say, are also found when traumatic brain injuries are sustained in childhood.
The study’s authors say their estimations are likely low since mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions went largely undiagnosed before the mid-1990s. There is also a large number of people, especially those injured while playing contact sports such as football and hockey, who never sought treatment for these injuries. Researchers say these findings should lead to a change in how traumatic brain injuries are handled. People should not be sent out of an emergency room after a traumatic brain injury without follow-up by a psychologist or psychiatrists, experts say.
Some of the common causes of traumatic brain injuries include auto accidents, falls, acts of violence and participation in sports such as football. Concussions, which were previously considered to be “mild” traumatic brain injuries, could have lifelong impacts, as recent research has shown. If you have suffered a head injury, it is crucial that you receive prompt medical care and treatment, and continue with your follow-up care as well. If your brain injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.