Brain Injury Category
By Marilyn Lash
Depression is among the most common psychiatric diagnoses after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adolescents and adults. Some people experience depressive signs or symptoms immediately following their injury. Others struggle with the onset of depression months or even years later as they struggle to cope with the changes and losses in their lives. Loss of jobs, isolation from friends, divorce or separation, and lowered income are just a few of the major stresses that contribute to depression. Some individuals use alcohol as a method of managing their loneliness, difficulty sleeping, lowered self-esteem, or frustration with the changes in their lives. Individuals who are depressed following TBI experience poorer rehabilitation benefits, lesser quality of life, greater social isolation, and poorer subjective well-being.
The use of alcohol as a method of coping with depressive symptoms carries additional risks for the individual. Alcohol consumption can hinder the process of recovery for the following five reasons.
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- Alcohol can interact with medications and increase or lessen the effects.
- Persons react differently to alcohol following a brain injury;than previously. It may take fewer drinks for the person to feel intoxicated.
- Alcohol can increase the risk of seizures after an injury.
- Alcohol affects cognitive abilities in anyone; it can have even more dramatic effects in a person with a TBI
- Judgment, impulsivity and impaired awareness are common consequences of excessive alcohol use. This increases the risk of the person being injured again through risky behaviors.
Research on safe alcohol consumption for individuals with traumatic brain injury has concluded there is simply no safe amount. The answer is to the question of, How much alcohol is okay after a TBI? is NONE.
For more information on substance abuse prevention and treatment after brain injury from Lash and Associates Publishing/Training.
Years after my own Brain Injury, I had to quit drinking and wish I had sooner.
Sure the brain injury resulted in balance issues and tripping over my own toe at times. Alcohol worsened it greatly but at first I didn’t mind if people were around. After a while it did get too dangerous. But the reason I quit is because how drinking affected my head , brain, thinking ability and especially memory after the brain injury. I didn’t have a lot of physical attributes going for me but I was left with a pretty good mind. Sure after the brain injury thinking was slower but still pretty accurate and creative at times. The drinking stifled that. I found to be emotional , get upset too easily. Word of advice , from blog owner and brain injury crime victim. Stop the alcohol.