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Addiction found to be another side effect of brain injury

It's no secret that traumatic head trauma can drastically change a person's life. Unlike other injuries, brain injuries can have unique and often life-long side effects. For those in Ohio who have suffered a brain or spinal cord injury due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, a personal injury claim may be considered. An injured party should speak with an attorney experienced in the area to ensure that the full extent of the damage is disclosed and that current and future costs related to the injury are covered.

Unfortunately, with traumatic brain injury (TBI), the extent of the damage is not always immediately recognized. Symptoms may not surface until much later. A recent study discovered another hidden side effect of TBI: increased risk of addiction.

The study looked at military personnel and found that mild TBI led to a heightened risk of alcohol dependency for roughly six months after the incident. The study also found a heightened risk for alcohol or drug abuse (nondependent) during the first month after the incident. Nicotine dependence was yet another side effect.

The subjects of the study included slightly more than 5,000 active-duty airmen with a history of mild TBI that resulted in some of the more common symptoms including, disorientation, confusion and memory loss.

The comparison group was comprised of nearly 45,000 airmen who suffered other injuries. Before coming to any conclusions, the research took other factors into account like marital status, race, gender, age, etc. But at the end of the day, the researchers discovered that alcohol dependency significantly jumped for people who suffered a mild TBI compared with those who had no history of TBI.

The study concluded with a suggestion to screen for addiction issues if there is a history of mild TBI. Although this one particular study focused on military personnel, it is easy to see how the results apply to the general public as well and anyone who has suffered from head or brain trauma should be aware of the potentially related substance abuse issues.

Source: News Medical, "Addiction risk increased after mild traumatic brain injury," Mark Cowen, March 8, 2013

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