From broken bones to nerve damage, car crashes can cause a variety of injuries. A common injury following any automobile accident, though, is a traumatic brain injury. If you hit your head on a hard surface or your car’s airbag, you may sustain one. The same is true if a loose object in your vehicle smashes into your head or your brain moves forward rapidly.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that there are approximately 1.7 million TBIs in the United States every year. Of these, between 50% and 70% happen in car accidents. While you may expect to experience a variety of symptoms with a TBI, you may not realize your mental health may be in jeopardy.

A common symptom

Within the first year of sustaining a TBI, roughly half of individuals experience some type of depression. Some with TBI-related depression report experiencing it even years after the initial injury. While depression may be minor, it is often severe. That is, you may experience a general feeling of sadness, a lack of motivation, concentration difficulties or even suicidal thoughts.

Outside factors

As you likely know, mental health can be difficult to understand. If you feel depressed after a TBI, some external factors may make your symptoms better or worse. The following three components may influence your experience:

  • Physiological changes to your brain after a physical injury
  • Neurological and emotional reactions to the onset of depression symptoms
  • Biological factors, such as genetic makeup and family history

When it comes to physical injuries, physicians often have a variety of diagnostic tools and treatment options. Unfortunately, diagnosing and treating depression is often more difficult. Even worse, symptoms may seem to diminish or go away altogether, only to return later.

You simply cannot ignore your mental health after a car accident. If you have sustained a TBI due to the actions of a careless driver, you must watch out for depression. Naturally, if you do not feel like your previous self, you may need treatment, counseling and rehabilitation to manage your mental state.