Objective: To characterize neuropsychiatric symptoms in a large group of individuals with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to correlate these symptoms with demographic, clinical, and functional features.
Methods: The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), a frequently used scale to assess behavioral, emotional, and motivational disorders in persons with neurological diseases, was administered to a sample of 120 persons with severe TBI. Controls were 77 healthy subjects.
Results: A wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms was found in the population with severe TBI: apathy (42%), irritability (37%), dysphoria/depressed mood (29%), disinhibition (28%), eating disturbances (27%), and agitation (24%). A clear relationship was also found with other demographic and clinical variables.
Conclusion: Neuropsychiatric disorders constitute an important part of the comorbidity in populations with severe TBI. Our study emphasizes the importance of integrating an overall assessment of cognitive disturbances with a specific neuropsychiatric evaluation to improve clinical understanding and treatment of persons with TBI.