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Q. Can a traumatic brain injury result in psychiatric symptoms a few years later?

Answered by
Dr. Aida Abaz Quka
and medically reviewed by Dr.Lekshmipriya B
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 01, 2022

Hi doctor,

Can a TBI go unnoticed because of a normal CT scan? At 15 years old, I fell backward down a flight of steps (about 10), presented to the ER with a contusion on the back of my head, headache, anosmia (anosmia lasted ultimately for about three weeks, headache for a while after). Possible LOC includes (there was no witness testament, I just remember letting go of the railing and hitting my head on the ground- heard loud ringing or bells or gong-type sounds, and my vision was out for a little. Saw white or black or flashing lights, and as it came back, someone at the top of the steps asked, “are you okay?” but I have no recollection of being unconscious, and an ambulance was not called, so I am not sure of the timeline of when she showed up. The neuro exam was otherwise normal. CT was normal and the diagnosis was CHI, no concussion. About one to two years down the line, I started to experience sudden anxiety, mood changes, sensitivity to loud sounds, and some focusing issues (attributed this to teenage hormones and college stress at the time). I have not brought up this injury to my PCP or psychiatrist at the risk of sounding dramatic, but is it possible my psychiatric symptoms may have something to do with this injury that I dismissed because I was told I did not have a concussion? I am 25 years now, so all of this has lingered at least a decade later. Should I bring it up to my doctors or just let it go?

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern and would explain that based on your description, it is less likely that you have had a brain concussion.

Anyway, we cannot exclude that this head trauma may have influenced the increased sensitivity to everyday problems.

Anyway, considering your actual symptoms, an antidepressant would help improve your situation.

You should know that antidepressants are the main treatment for post-concussion syndrome, as well as for anxiety and depression.

Yoga and recreational sports can help too.

I remain at your disposal in case of further questions whenever you need them.

Kind regards.


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