Neuropsychiatric disorders in persons with severe traumatic brain injury: prevalence, phenomenology, and relationship with demographic, clinical, and functional features

J Head Trauma Rehabil. Mar-Apr 2011;26(2):116-26. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181dedd0e.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult