A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury that may have long-term consequences. It is invisible. It can’t be seen on an x-ray. It can be interpreted as a personality defect by others and as a sense of failure by the victim. Getting the proper treatment must be a priority in every TBI.
Research has taught us that many people suffering from a substance abuse disorder (i.e. Opioid addiction, alcoholism) have a past history of an inadequately treated traumatic brain injury (i.e. concussion).
Amongst individuals with a substance abuse disorder, it is estimated that 40% have a history of a traumatic brain injury.
People with a history of TBI have risk factors making them susceptible to substance abuse:
- more frequent headaches
- more likely to experience chronic pain
- more likely to be prescribed opioids
- increased impulsive behavior making it difficult to self-regulate behavior (this is due to the damage to the executive function part of the brain during the TBI)
Substance abuse can then increase the risk of future brain injury due to possible falls, car accidents or, with opioid overdoses, anoxic (loss of oxygen to the brain) events.
It is extremely important therefore that anyone with a diagnosed TBI get the appropriate treatment to avoid greater injury.