Risk of Mood and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders Increased 3 and 6 Months After Concussion


Results from the TRACK-TBI study (NCT02119182), recently published in JAMA Psychiatry show that approximately 1 in 5 individuals who have mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, experience mental health symptoms up to 6 months after the event. This reinforces the importance of follow-up care for individuals who experience mTBI. 

Of those who had mTBI (n = 1,155), approximately 20.0% reported symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared with only 8.7% of those who had trauma that did not involve the head (n = 230; P < .001). At 6 months, the rates were 21.2% and 12.3% respectively, still a significant different (P = .03). Participants with less education, self-reported psychiatric history, violence-related injury, and those who were black were all at higher risk for PTSD symptoms after mTBI; all of those groups except those with violence-related injuries were also at higher risk for MDD. 

The authors conclude these findings should influence recognition of at-risk individuals and inform efforts at surveillance, follow-up, and intervention.

“TRACK-TBI is overturning many of our long-held beliefs around mTBI, particularly in what happens with patients after they leave the emergency department,” said Geoff Manley, MD, professor at the University of California San Francisco. “We are seeing more evidence about the need to monitor these individuals for many months after their injury to help them achieve the best recovery possible.”

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