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#neurocognitive disorders

Head trauma & Depression

Katrin Rauen

Neurological Rehabilitation Center Godeshöhe GmbH, Germany

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major global health burden and affects predominantly the frontal lobes with relevant neuropsychiatric sequels including cognitive, sleep, and affective dysfunctions. These symptoms tridirectionally influence each other, and hamper complete recovery with up to half of patients suffering from depressive disorder after TBI.

However, TBI rehabilitation primarily targets physical outcome with unmet psychiatric treatment needs across Europe. Thus, it is time to improve psychiatric diagnostics and treatment in post-TBI care.

Here, we outline

  • the clinical picture of post-TBI in comparison to post-stroke depression,
  • the diagnostic relevance of screening the TBI patient’s disease-specific and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) to identify the risk of a depressive disorder early,
  • the frontal lobe dysfunction with challenges and pitfalls of psychiatric diagnostics in TBI patients,
  • the non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment of post-TBI depression, and
  • future perspectives for TBI research and clinical practice to overcome the current lack of psychiatric diagnostics and treatment after TBI.