Through our imaging work, I’ve discovered that many people forget they sustained a traumatic brain injury and I have to ask them “Did you ever have a brain injury?” five to ten times to uncover if they had one or not.
Head Trauma is Often Overlooked in Psychiatry
I have to specifically ask people if they have ever fallen out of a tree, dove into a shallow pool, fell off a fence head first, been in a car accident, or had concussions playing sports. I am shocked by the percentage of people who initially say no to the question about brain injury, but when we saw evidence of an injury on a scan and prodded them, they begin to remember all sorts of incidents like going through a windshield of a car, falling off a cliff, or falling out of a third-story window.
Research published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society demonstrates that this experience is not unique to Amen Clinics. The study was a 35-year longitudinal study of 1,265 children. Of those who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), only slightly more than half of the people recalled that they had sustained a head injury when asked about it later in life. The other half of the people “forgot”.
Additionally, the accuracy of their recall differed depending upon the severity of the injury. Those that sustained moderate to severe head injury had almost perfect recall that they had indeed experienced a head injury at some point in their lives. However, most TBI’s are mild and the recall of these injuries was quite poor.
Furthermore, the longer ago the injury occurred affected the accuracy of recall – the longer ago, the poorer the recall. It was also noted that the earlier in life that a TBI happened, the more vulnerable a person was too negative outcomes later in life as a result of the TBI…yet these are the same folks that are the most likely to not remember that they even sustained a TBI.
TBI Symptoms Aren’t Always Immediate
While some people develop symptoms immediately following a TBI, others find their symptoms emerge over a period of weeks or months. As a result of this delay, the underlying cause of the symptoms is often forgotten and not uncovered. Many times, doctors simply don’t ask about possible injury to the brain or don’t actually look at the brain with imaging. Instead, the problems are frequently attributed to a psychiatric condition and the person is treated with medication.
The impact of head trauma is often overlooked in psychiatry. Even minor head injuries to vulnerable parts of the brain can cause problems for years to come. Brain SPECT imaging is one of the best tools for detecting the functional damage from traumatic brain injury that is often not seen on CT and MRI studies.
Research shows that undiagnosed brain injuries are a major cause of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, ADD/ADHD, and suicide.
Over the past 26 years, Amen Clinics has helped thousands of people heal their brains and they can help you, too. With targeted treatment, you can change your brain and change your life.
If you or a loved one is struggling with behavior issues or to learn more about the effects of brain injury and how Amen Clinics can help, please call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.