Rate of psychiatric illness 1 year after traumatic brain injury

Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Mar;156(3):374-8. doi: 10.1176/ajp.156.3.374.


Objective: Neurobehavioral symptoms are not uncommon after a traumatic brain injury. However, psychiatric syndromes per se have rarely been studied in patients with such an injury. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the type and extent of psychiatric syndromes in patients with traumatic brain injury.

Method: One hundred ninety-six hospitalized adults were studied 1 year after a traumatic brain injury with the use of a two-stage psychiatric diagnostic procedure. Psychiatric diagnoses were made according to ICD-10 criteria on the basis of data from the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry interview.

Results: Of 164 patients interviewed, 30 (18.3%) had an ICD-10 diagnosis of a psychiatric illness. Among the 120 patients who were 18-64 years old, 21.7% had a psychiatric illness, compared with 16.4% in a study of the general population. A depressive illness was present in 13.9% of the traumatic brain injury patients, compared with 2.1% of the general population, and panic disorder was present in 9.0%, compared with 0.8% of the general population.

Conclusions: In comparison with the general population, a higher proportion of adult patients had developed psychiatric illnesses 1 year after a traumatic brain injury; the rates of depressive episode and panic disorder were significantly higher in the study group. A history of psychiatric illness, an unfavorable global outcome according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale, a lower score on the Mini-Mental State examination, and fewer years of formal education seemed to be important risk factors in the development of a psychiatric illness. Compensation claims, however, were not associated with the rate of psychiatric illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Class