By now, most people are likely aware that a concussion may take quite some time to recover from. In some cases the person who suffers it may never be the same. It can be difficult for people in this situation to adapt to the symptoms that can linger for weeks or even months. While some of those symptoms are physical in nature—such as headaches—others impact their emotional wellbeing. Specifically, it can cause a change in their behaviour.
These changes can be serious. A recent study indicates they may even increase the risk of someone trying to end their own life.
The study looked at the health records of over 235,000 concussion patients in Ontario. The records followed patients over the course of 20 years, beginning in 1992. During that period of time, of those individuals, a total of 667 people committed suicide.
The study identified specific information regarding those who took their own lives. On average, people who took this course of action did so six years after the incident in which they suffered the concussion. People from both genders were affected this way and the average age for the activity was 41. Most of them resided in cities.
Though unclear, an internal medicine specialist and senior scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto indicated it is possible that the brain injury resulted in disrupted serotonin pathways. In turn, this could lead to irritability, sleep disturbances, depression and impulsivity. It is also possible however that those who took their own lives were predisposed toward self-harm activity.
While this study published Canadian Medical Association Journal, is not conclusive regarding this issue, it does provide some things for those impacted by concussions, as well as their medical providers, to be aware of.