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Traumatic Brain Injury and Its Link to Addiction

a person in a wheelchair holds their head while struggling with traumatic brain injury and addiction

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause someone’s future to be completely altered. From organization, speech, and memory problems to difficulties understanding the world around them, people with a TBI often spend years trying to find ways to proceed as normally as possible. Unfortunately, there is also a strong link between traumatic brain injury and addiction. When the injury occurs, it can cause damage to the same parts of the brain that influence addiction.

If you or a loved one has sustained a TBI and now struggles with addiction, Northpoint Seattle can help. Our flexible outpatient treatment programs allow you to keep your medical appointments while still receiving effective addiction treatment. Get more addiction resources and enroll today by contacting our team online or calling 888.483.6031.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of damage to the brain caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head. TBI can lead to various cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms. It is important to seek medical attention immediately after sustaining a head injury, even if you do not think it is serious.

Even relatively minor concussions are TBIs. A more severe TBI can cause extended periods of unconsciousness, memory loss, paralysis, and even death.

TBI is a significant cause of disability and death worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 2.87 million people in the United States sustained a TBI in 2017.

Side Effects of TBI

TBI can cause a wide range of short- and long-term effects. These may be physical, cognitive, emotional, or social. Some effects are immediately apparent, while others may not appear until days or weeks after the injury.

The most common short-term effect of TBI is confusion. Other side-effects may include:

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble with vision
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Memory or concentration problems

The Link Between a TBI and Addiction

There is a strong link between TBI and addiction. People with TBI are more likely to develop substance use disorder (SUD) than the general population. According to one study, the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder is four times higher for people with TBI than those without TBI. The risk of developing a drug use disorder is three times higher.

There are a number of reasons for the link between TBI and addiction. People with TBI often experience chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. They may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope with these symptoms. In addition, damage to the brain from TBI can alter decision-making and impulse control, making it more difficult to resist the urge to use drugs or alcohol.

If you or someone you know has a TBI, it is crucial to be aware of the increased risk of developing an addiction. If you are struggling with addiction, seek help from a professional treatment program. With proper treatment and support, it is possible to recover from TBI and addiction.

Recovering from Substance Abuse and TBI

Addiction treatment typically includes a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. This approach can help people with TBI to manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of relapse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with TBI and addiction, Northpoint Seattle can help. We offer a comprehensive treatment program that includes rehabilitation, medical intervention, and behavioral therapy. Our team is dedicated to helping people with TBI recover and live fulfilling lives.

Health and happiness are just a click or call away; get started today by calling us at 888.483.6031 or reaching out to our team online.