Symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury, such as sleep disorders, memory
impairment or attention problems, can overlap symptoms of depression.
In the forensic setting, the distinction between symptoms of mTBI and
depression is a critical one, but diagnostic mistakes can easily be made.
Recently, a study comparing mTBI patients with depression, mTBI patients
without depression, and uninjured depressed patients showed that depression
has an "additive effect" on the symptoms of mTBI. The researchers
originally hypothesized that, based on past research, uninjured people
with depression would report a similar level of symptoms as mTBI patients
with depression. They were surprised to discover that the symptoms in
depressed mTBI patients were both greater in number and in severity than
uninjured depressed patients.
In the forensic setting, clinicians who diagnose patients claiming prolonged
symptoms of mTBI can now differentiate those symptoms with the symptoms
of depression alone by assessing symptom severity and overall number of symptoms.
Lange RT, Iverson G, & Rose A. Depression strongly influences postconcussion
symptom reporting following mild traumatic brain injury.
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (July 2010).