You Say "Concussion," I Ask "Depression?": Emotional Results Of Personal Injury

Posted on: 3 June 2016

Injured in a car accident, workplace fall, or dog attack? If so, you may have sustained a concussion. Concussions, considered mild brain injuries, are nonetheless considered a serious matter by physicians. They are, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "caused by a bump, blow, or  jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain." It's probably no surprise to you that brain injuries are cause for compensation in a personal injury case, but you may not realize that they can also cause emotional changes, such as depression, that are also grounds for compensatory award. If you've suffered a concussion, be alert to signs of depression.

Cause and effect

That blow to the head you suffered can lead to something called "post concussion syndrome." This syndrome is marked by a cluster of symptoms including headache, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and sensitivity to light. These symptoms usually come on about 7-10 days after the injury and can last for months.

Depression: cause for concern

However, one symptom of post-concussion syndrome can be a stubborn one to shake: depression. Most people would define depression as a sad mood and, perhaps, oversleeping or undereating. However, in the midst of the life turmoil caused by your injury, you may not recognize these other symptoms indicative of this concerning disorder:

  • Irritability

  • Outbursts of anger

  • Lack of motivation

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Loss of interest in usual activities

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Eating too much or too little

All of these are signs of depression. Unfortunately, after experiencing these symptoms for a length of time, people sometimes develop a sense of hopelessness that can lead to suicidal thinking.

Cause for counsel

Do these symptoms ring a bell in your injured head? If so, you need to seek two kinds of counsel.

  1. Psychological. Make an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist who has experience treating post-concussion syndrome. Medication and short term therapy are helpful in the treatment of depression. However, in this situation you also need a neurological consultation to determine the extent of your brain injury and how it is affecting your mental health.

  2. Legal. If you don't already have a personal injury lawyer, it's time to retain one. Schedule a free consultation with an attorney to review your case and determine your eligibility for compensation. Make sure to bring documentation of your physical injuries as well as the findings of your psychiatric evaluation.

The cluster of troubling symptoms you've been experiencing since your injury may not be just due to the natural fallout of an upsetting event; they may be the very real result of your head injury. Depression needs treatment, and you need compensation for the negative effects it is having on your life.