Soldiers with more than one brain injury show higher suicide risk

Tennessee soldiers who are fighting for their country and the family members of these soldiers should be aware of the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries. TBIs are common among servicemen and servicewomen due to explosives and other injuries caused by combat. A new study shows that those who suffer from more than one brain injury are likely to face a higher risk of suicide.

These suicidal thoughts are not just temporary feelings that occur immediately following an episode. Research suggests that the brain damage can last as long as the soldier lives. Of those who were studied during a six-month period in 2009, close to 22 percent of those who suffered more than one TBI struggled with thoughts of suicide. Of those who had just one TBI, nearly seven percent had suicidal thoughts. Those with no TBI had no thoughts of suicide.

Those with multiple TBIs were more prone to suffer from other symptoms of mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. With suicide a common cause of death among U.S. soldiers, the results of this research will hopefully help doctors and other medical staff understand the thought processes of those with a brain injury so they can be appropriately treated and monitored.

A brain injury can be open or closed. The main difference is that an open brain injury involves a skull fracture. However, both types can be serious and result in paralysis or even death. A brain injury can affect victims for the rest of their lives. They may be unable to work, live by themselves or even perform basic everyday tasks. Fortunately, there are several types of financial compensation available so that victims can receive the medical care they need.

Source: PsychCentral, “Repeated Brain Injuries Up Soldiers’ Suicide Risk,” Janice Wood, May 19, 2013

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