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What Makes Head Injury Victims Prone to Substance Abuse?

June 13, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients face a myriad of challenges, including, memory loss, cognitive difficulties and mood changes. Now, researchers found out that TBI victims are at a risk for substance abuse as well following their injury. Researchers found a correlation between TBI and subsequent alcohol and drug abuse in 10 to 20 percent of TBI victims.

“Substance abuse is a risk factor for having a traumatic brain injury and traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for developing a substance abuse problem,” commented John Corrigan, one of the researchers in the study. Interestingly, doctors also found out that more than a few TBI victims had a substance abuse problem even before their brain injury, which only worsened after the TBI. After the head injury, there can be a window of time when the victim uses little or no illegal drugs or alcohol for the following reasons:

  • The victim is in a hospital or recovery center where drugs and alcohol are not accessible
  • The victim’s family is keeping a close watch on the TBI victim and his or her recovery
  • Doctors and family make the victim aware of alcohol’s negative impact on recovery from the TBI

However, within two to five years after the injury, TBI victims tend to resume their drug and alcohol abuse. A TBI makes the person extremely vulnerable to dependency and substance abuse, even for those who had no prior history of substance abuse.

Serious injuries like TBI present challenges to the victim and the victim’s family. Contact our office if someone else’s reckless behavior is responsible for your loved one’s TBI or other injury. One of our personal injury lawyers can help you.