Brain Injury and Depression: Physicians Working in the Dark -- So What Should We Do In the Meantime?
Posted Apr 25 2011 4:41pm
"April 25, 2011 — Despite the fact that depression after traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects up to 30% of patients — or approximately 360,000 individuals annually — an extensive analysis reveals a stunning lack of research into effective treatments."
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health problem, especially among male adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 24, and among elderly people of both sexes 75 years and older. Children aged 5 and younger are also at high risk for TBI.
TBI costs the country more than $48 billion a year, and between 2.5 and 6.5 million Americans alive today have had a TBI. Survivors of TBI are often left with significant cognitive, behavioral, and communicative disabilities, and some patients develop long-term medical complications, such as epilepsy.
Other statistics dramatically tell the story of head injury in the United States. Each year:
approximately 270,000 people experience a moderate or severe TBI,
approximately 70,000 people die from head injury,
approximately 1 million head-injured people are treated in hospital emergency rooms,
approximately 60,000 new cases of epilepsy occur as a result of head trauma,
approximately 230,000 people are hospitalized for TBI and survive, and
approximately 80,000 of these survivors live with significant disabilities as a result of the injury.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury? TBI, also called acquired brain injury or simply head injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. The damage can be focal - confined to one area of the brain - or diffuse - involving more than one area of the brain. TBI can result from a closed head injury* or a penetrating head injury. A closed injury occurs when the head suddenly and violently hits an object but the object does not break through the skull. A penetrating injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
*National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement, October 26-28, 1998. Rehabilitation of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury. Bethesda, MD, September 1999.
While the medical and pharmaceutical industries are spending billions trying to come up with a new magic bullet for depression, those who suffer from depression can go the tried and true "old skool" route by balancing their lifestyle choices.
Depression is more often caused by a lack of certain foods in the diet rather than something present in the diet. It is known that carbohydrates in the diet increase the brain’s production of serotonin. Also, the body needs the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in food proteins, to produce serotonin. So depression can sometimes be the result of a diet that is low in carbohydrates or tryptophan.
Here are some things you can do for yourself:
• drink plenty of pure water
• consume organic produce and hormone/antibiotic-free meats
• salmon, tuna, mackerel, spinach, fresh or frozen peas (not canned), chick peas, chicken and turkey are especially helpful
• prepare your own meals and serve yourself as if you were royalty
• get 20 minutes of sunshine a day
• exercise (in accordance with physical condition)