Depression is normal symptoms after injuring the brain. Chemicals go haywire in the brain. Adding to the mix, the psychological toll of dealing with the aftermath and symptoms of a traumatic brian injury can be deviating. Anxiety can also accompany these symptoms. Therapy is a natural way to cope and find strategies to deal with the psychological symptoms of a TBI.
Cognitive Behaviors Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy that works to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. This therapy helps patients change the patters they use when thinking about a problem and focuses on changing behavior and thought processes.
Read more about this therapy on the Mayo Clinic's Website
CBT changed my life. Through the first 4 years of my recovery I saw neurologist after neurologist who refused to help me due to my depression. Depression is a very real side effect of a brain injury. Unfortunately, for me I already had depression before my injury. If you have depression before a brain injury, the likelihood of suicide goes up x10. This is not the patients fault but a chemical reaction to the injury. I had one near attempt when the pain was so bad I couldn't talk. It was terrifying. I didn't know why my brain couldn't stop thinking about ending it. Thankfully, my mom found Dr. Eckel. I began seeing Dr. Eckel twice a week. For me CBT wasn't enough to stop the constant suicidal thoughts. I was sent to Dr. Anthony Atwell in Cambel Ca, and was put on an antidepressant. The antidepressant stopped the thoughts and the CBT enabled me to change the way I handle at my situation and the constant pain I live with I'm happy to say I have been depression free for two years and am slowly coming off of my antidepressants. I believe I own my mental positivity to CBT. I highly recumbent it.
Audrey Lambidakis/Catherine O'Leary Eckel, Ph.D in Los Gatos, CA
I have spent many years in therapy for emotional support with Dr. Allison Armstrong-Conner 1 x weekly for 1 hour. Also family therapy with Leesa Allen LCSW.
I went to Onsite in Tennessee for a week of trauma therapy and that was a life charger. I do believe the body doesn’t lie and that the issues are in the tissues. I go every other week for trauma therapy and it’s amazing what stuff keeps coming up. I take it one layer at a time and know my life is work in process. I am blessed to be alive. I highly suggest the Onsite programs, because of the emotional support I was giving and the education on trauma gave me the tools to live the rest of my life without chronic worrying.
17% (1 in 5!) of brain injury patients admit to suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts in the 5 year period following injury. This is a dramatic increase from the 4% statistic of the general population. These thoughts can arise from the situational difficulties arising from the brain injury, as well as organic damage to the brain. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or depression, inform your doctor and loved ones immediately. A 24-hour suicide hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. To chat online with a trained personnel, go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org . If you are in the USA, you can also text “CONNECT” to 741741 to text with a person trained for these situations. Do not be afraid to reach out. It is better to reach out even if you are not sure that it is necessary.
Mental health disorders run cruelly rampant in the TBI community. Damage to the frontal lobe, which is largely responsible for mood regulation and disorders, is extremely common in concussion. 70% of those with concussion will experience marked anxiety. Within 7 years, almost ⅔ of patients have experienced depression. 17% of those with TBI will admit to suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts in the 5 year period following concussion. This is almost 1 in 5. While depression, anxiety, and PTSD are the most common mental disorders found after TBI, any mental condition can be excareberated or prompted through brain injury. Mental health symptoms are just as valid and organic as any other symptom of brain injury. Talk honestly with all of your care providers about these symptoms. These thoughts are not your fault, and, with treatment, they do not have to be forever.