STUDY: Multiple brain injuries may lead to higher risk of suicide

Brain Bleed Injuries

Suicide Risk Increases with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Chicagoans brave the risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) every day in many forms, such as car collisions, sports injury, or slip-and-fall accidents. And Chicago natives who are serving our country overseas may also be at risk of suffering TBIs, particularly when they are injured during combat.

The effects of brain injuries may be wide-ranging. Folks may need to rest for a few days after suffering a concussion, and others may experience severe impairments from TBIs or subsequent brain injuries.

The effects of brain injuries may be wide-ranging. Some may need a few days’ rest after suffering a concussion, and others may experience severe impairments from TBIs or subsequent brain injuries.

Although brain injuries may cause severe and permanent harm to victims, doctors may also be able to minimize the short and long-term effects of TBIs by properly diagnosing and treating patients who have suffered these types of injuries. And according to a new study, knowledge of a patients’ history of brain injuries may help doctors to provide him or her with better treatment.

Psychological effects are known symptoms of brain injuries. Brain injuries may lead to depression and even suicidal ideation. But a new study suggests that multiple TBIs suffered by war veterans may increase veterans’ risks of suicide.

This research may give doctors the ability to identify patients, particularly military personnel, who may have a high risk of suicide. When patients are identified as having a higher risk of suicide, doctors may be able to provide these patients with the treatment they need to lower their risk of suicide.

Military Suicides Linked to Brain Injury

For the study, researchers selected 161 military members who had been treated by doctors after potentially sustaining TBIs while stationed in Iraq. The military members were diagnosed with a TBI if they lost consciousness or memory, if they experienced an alteration of mental state, or if they suffered brain damage.

Researchers asked military personnel who had participated in the study whether they had any thoughts of suicide prior to suffering TBIs and whether this changed after suffering TBIs. Based on the participants’ answers, researchers concluded that TBI victims were more likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to non-TBI victims. Researchers also concluded that participants who had suffered multiple TBIs were more likely to have thoughts of suicide compared to participants who suffered one TBI.

Source: CBS News, “Traumatic brain injury may increase suicide risk for military personnel,” Michelle Castillo, May 16, 2013

Brain Injuries


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