Teens could be at an increased risk of developing mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety if they suffer from a concussion that is not properly healed.
"A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and it is similar to a stroke in that both affect normal brain function and may have similar symptoms," said neurologist Frederick Nahm, MD, PhD, head of the Stroke Center at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut. Teens who participate in sports such as football or gymnastics could have higher chances of a concussion.
"These secondary complications, like anxiety disorders or a new phobia of tests, memory problems, depression, apathy, inattention, and other behaviors are indelible and can be difficult to treat," Nahm said. "It's not something the student can control or work harder to 'fix' because it's the result of an injured brain. Only a [neuropsychologist or doctor] trained in the treatment of concussion or traumatic brain injury can do a thorough assessment for a severe brain injury."
Immediate symptoms of a concussion include confusion and disorientation or, occasionally, unconsciousness. These symptoms need to be treated.
Nahm said that in the middle of a game, a person's adrenaline is high and it's easy to brush off an injury. But whether a concussion is caused by a sporting event, car accident, or a fall, it may take hours or even days to start experiencing symptoms such as a headache, dizziness, or nausea.
"The most important thing with a head injury, if you feel as though you're having symptoms, you have to tell someone and seek evaluation," Nahm said. "A thorough treatment plan focuses on the emotional, psychological, and behavioral issues that can arise following even a mild brain injury."
If the injured person resumes normal activity before he or she isfully healed, there is a risk of a second head injury. Known as second impact syndrome, it can result in much greater long-term complications.
Source: Psych Health