Is There a Connection Between Concussion and Suicide?
Unfortunately, we hear news stories every day about another young person who has taken their life. To most people it is unfathomable someone who has so much to live for would feel such despair to want to die. But often we hear that the person who has taken their own life had head trauma.
Could a concussion make a person want to commit suicide?
After Dr. Daniel Amen, Founder and CEO of Amen Clinics, wrote a column on head trauma in a Northern California newspaper, he was contacted by a woman who told him a very sad story. The woman said her daughter had been a model child up until the time she had a bike accident when she was about 18. She hit a branch, flew over the handlebars, landed face-first on the street, and momentarily lost consciousness. Since then, everything changed. The young woman went from being happy and cooperative to angry and moody. Therapy didn’t help, and the young woman eventually took her own life when she was just 20 years old. Her mother was heartbroken, especially when she discovered the connection between concussions and suicide and that there are things you can do to help heal the brain after a concussion. If only she had known earlier, she said.
What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that temporarily interferes with normal brain function. Most people think that concussions always cause a person to black out or lose consciousness, but this isn’t the case. Many people who experience a concussion are never diagnosed and don’t even realize they’ve experienced one.
Concussions on the Rise
More than 2 million people each year suffer a head injury. And the number of concussions in the U.S. is rising, especially among younger people. The number of Americans diagnosed with a concussion rose 43% from 2010 to 2015. But among people between the ages of 10 and 19, it jumped up by 71 percent.
Some of the most common causes of concussions include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports injuries
- Explosive blasts and other combat injuries
The Hidden Dangers of Concussions
Concussions often cause headaches, nausea, confusion, fatigue, or amnesia about the event. These symptoms may last days, weeks, or even longer. But there are many other symptoms tied to concussions that may not appear until weeks or months after the incident.
Healthy Surface SPECT brain scan:
Surface SPECT brain scan of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):
For example, head injuries often damage the pituitary gland, an area within the brain that is involved in the production of hormones, including thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and more. When the pituitary gland is damaged, it can result in hormonal imbalances that cause mood and energy problems, as well as other issues.
Having a head injury also increases the risk of many mental health conditions, including:
Sadly, many people do not associate new symptoms of mental illness or suicidal thoughts with a head injury they suffered months or years earlier. Because of this, they may receive treatment for depression and anxiety, for example, but they often do not get the help they need to heal the underlying traumatic brain injury. Too often, this results in someone taking their own life like the woman’s daughter you read about at the beginning of this blog.
To complement other treatments, there are ways to help heal the brain after a head injury or concussion, including:
- Neurofeedback: This computer-based interactive therapy involves the use of video games to help people control their brainwaves. More than 1,000 scientific studies show that this non-invasive technology can help with TBI, depression, ADHD, addiction, and more.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT): This non-invasive treatment uses concentrated oxygen to promote faster healing. Research shows it enhances brain repair, as well as cognitive and emotional functioning after a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
At Amen Clinics, we have helped thousands of people with traumatic brain injuries or concussions to heal their brain and improve their quality of life. We use a combination of the least toxic, most effective therapies, which may include neurofeedback, HBOT, talk therapy, and medications, in addition to small lifestyle changes that can make a big difference. If you or someone you love has suffered a concussion or head injury, find out how we can help. Talk to a specialist today by calling 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.