Psychiatric disorders are common following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can include depression, anxiety, and psychosis, as well as other maladaptive behaviors and personality changes. The epidemiologic data of psychiatric disorders post-TBI vary widely, although the incidence and prevalence rates typically are higher than in the general population. Although the experience of psychiatric symptoms may be temporary and may resolve in the acute period, many patients with TBI can experience psychopathology that is persistent or that develops in the post-acute period. Long-term psychiatric disorder, along with cognitive and physical sequelae and greater risk for substance use disorders, can pose a number of life-long challenges for patients and their caregivers, as they can interfere with participation in rehabilitation as well as limit functional independence in the community. The current review of the literature considers the common psychiatric problems affecting individuals with TBI in the post-acute period, including personality changes, psychosis, executive dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. Although treatment considerations (pharmacological and nonpharmacological) are referred to, an extensive description of such protocols is beyond the scope of the current review. The impact of persistent psychiatric symptoms on perceived caregiver burden and distress is also discussed.
Keywords: TBI; caregiver distress; maladaptive behaviors; mood disorder.