What is the role of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the development of suicidal behaviors?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been linked to increased risk of suicide. Bryan and Clemans have noted the association of multiple TBIs as a risk factor. They studied a group of patients that included 161 military personnel referred for evaluation and treatment of suspected head injury at a military hospital's TBI clinic in Iraq. They found depression, PTSD, and TBI symptom severity significantly increased with the number of TBIs. They concluded that suicide risk is higher among military personnel with more lifetime TBIs, even after controlling for clinical symptom severity. [37, 38]

In another study, researchers looked at a registry-based retrospective cohort study from Denmark that included 34,529 deaths by suicide over 35 years. They compared individuals with medical contact for TBI with the general population without TBI and found that patients with TBI had an increased risk of suicide (incident rate ratio of 1.90). [39]

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