Teen concussions increase risk for depression

January 10, 2014 by Katherine Kahn, Health Behavior News Service
Teen concussions increase risk for depression

Teens with a history of concussions are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression as teens who have never had a concussion, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"What this study suggests is that teens who have had a should be screened for ," said lead study author Sara Chrisman, M.D., a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Concussion, considered a mild traumatic brain injury, can also have serious . Most prior research on these psychological effects has focused on adults. However, many teens experience concussions through sports injuries or accidents, and less is known about long-term complications in adolescents.

The study used data from the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children's Health and included health information from over 36,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17. 2.7 percent of the sample had had a concussion and 3.4 percent had a current depression diagnosis.

Teens who were 15 years or older, lived in poverty or who had a parent with were more likely to be depressed than other teens, said Chrisman, "but what was surprising was when we took those factors into consideration, it didn't take away from the association between depression and a history of concussion."

Chrisman also cautioned that it's not known what exactly might account for higher rates of depression in with a history of concussion. It could be the brain injury itself, diagnostic bias due to repeated medical visits for concussion, doctors mistaking symptoms of a concussion for depression, or from the social isolation that they may experience while recovering.

Jeffrey Max, M.D., a psychiatrist who specializes in psychiatric outcomes of traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents at the University of California, San Diego noted, "In our research, we've found that about 10 percent of the kids had a full depressive disorder or subclinical depressive disorder 6 months after a concussion." Children who have a history of concussion are more likely to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and have difficulties controlling their moods, especially anger, rather than experience depression, Max added.

Unlike Chrisman, however, Max observed that the actual brain injury associated with concussions is probably a major cause of depression in the first few months after injury. "In the clinic, we've certainly seen cases where within hours [of sustaining a concussion], a kid who's never had depression before is suddenly depressed and suicidal. One of our studies found that the brain images in children with traumatic and depression were actually quite similar to those seen in adults who develop depression as a result of ."

Explore further: Children with brain injuries nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression

More information: Chrisman SP and Richardson LP. Prevalence of diagnosed depression in adolescents with history of concussion. 2013. J Adolesc Health.

Related Stories

Children with brain injuries nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression

October 25, 2013
In a study presented Oct. 25 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, researchers found that compared to other children, 15 percent of those with brain injuries or concussions were ...

Brain still injured from concussion after symptoms fade

November 20, 2013
After a mild concussion, special brain scans show evidence of brain abnormalities four months later, when symptoms from the concussion have mostly dissipated, according to research published in the November 20, 2013, online ...

On-field blood test can diagnose sports concussions

January 8, 2014
A brain protein, S100B, which may soon be detected by a simple finger-stick blood test, accurately distinguishes a sports-related concussion from sports exertion, according to a study of college athletes in Rochester, N.Y., ...

Are concussions related to Alzheimer's disease?

December 26, 2013
A new study suggests that a history of concussion involving at least a momentary loss of consciousness may be related to the buildup of Alzheimer's-associated plaques in the brain. The research is published in the December ...

Study shows first link between altitude and concussion

December 9, 2013
A new study shows that high school athletes playing at higher altitudes suffer fewer concussions than those closer to sea-level, a phenomenon attributed to physiological changes in the brain causing it to fit more tightly ...

NIH, NFL team up to take on concussion research

December 16, 2013
(HealthDay)—The U.S. National Institutes of Health is teaming up with the National Football League on research into the long-term effects of repeated head injuries and improving concussion diagnosis.

Recommended for you

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

Father's nicotine use can cause cognitive problems in children and grandchildren

October 16, 2018
A father's exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a study in mice publishing on October 16 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Pradeep Bhide of Florida ...

Many supplements contain unapproved, dangerous ingredients: study

October 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—U.S. health officials have issued more than 700 warnings during the last decade about the sale of dietary supplements that contain unapproved and potentially dangerous drug ingredients, new research reveals.

Age at which women experience their first period is linked to their sons' age at puberty

October 12, 2018
The age at which young women experience their first menstrual bleeding is linked to the age at which their sons start puberty, according to the largest study to investigate this association in both sons and daughters.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.