Definition, diagnosis, and forensic implications of postconcussional syndrome

Psychosomatics. May-Jun 2005;46(3):195-202. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.46.3.195.


Injuries from blows to the head often are manifested only as subjective complaints. Postconcussional syndrome thus can be feigned for financial or psychological gain. The authors review the pathology of brain trauma, symptoms of postconcussional syndrome, and criteria for diagnosis. In addition to somatic deficits, psychological and cognitive problems are common. The likelihood and severity of postconcussional syndrome are greater for women. Malingering may be suspected in cases involving litigation, and tests to detect it are available. Treatment for postconcussional syndrome depends on the specific symptoms. Pharmacotherapies may be helpful, but care should be used in prescribing drugs that could produce deleterious CNS effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Concussion / complications
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Forensic Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Malingering / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / etiology*
  • Syndrome