D'Amore is now in-Network with United Health Group
We are proud to announce the opening of our fourth Residential Facility: Cheyenne House
D'Amore is now in Network with MHN Health Net Insurance
We are proud to announce the opening of our fourth Residential Facility: Cheyenne House
D'Amore is now in Network with MHN Health Net Insurance
D'Amore is now in Network with MHN Health Net Insurance

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) & Mental Health

Caring for a family member or loved one with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be incredibly difficult and stressful.  Traumatic Brain Injuries can make a person more susceptible to co-occurring mental health disorders, especially depression.  A person with a TBI is also at a greater risk of developing a Substance Abuse Disorder.  These issues can complicate the rehabilitation process and exacerbate the physical and mental issues that accompany a TBI. 

What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?

A Traumatic Brain Injury is an injury to the brain caused by an impact to the head.  The initial damage that occurs during the impact is called the primary injury.  These primary injuries can affect the entire brain or just a specific area.  As a result of the impact, a person’s brain knocks back and forth inside the skull causing bruising and bleeding.  In the direct aftermath of the impact, a person will typically experience a certain set of symptoms as a result of their primary injury.  These symptoms are typically confusion, memory loss, blurred vision, dizziness, or loss of consciousness.  After the damage was done by the primary injury, the brain will begin to swell.  This creates tension as the brain pushes out against the skull, thereby restricting the flow of oxygen to the brain.  This effect often causes more damage than the original injury.

After a patient has been stabilized they can be discharged from the hospital.  But this is just the beginning of the recovery process.  If a patient still requires a ventilator to breathe, they will need to be transferred to a Long Term Acute (LTAC) Care Facility.  Once the person recovering from a TBI can breathe easily without assistance, they can be transferred to a rehabilitation center like D’Amore for sub-acute, residential care.  Here, the patient receives assistance with their daily activities and can be monitored by nursing staff to prevent any complications or additional injuries.  In this level of care, the patient will work with psychiatrists and therapists to chart their recovery and ensure that they are in the best position possible to heal to the best of their abilities.

Recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury requires hard work on behalf of the patient and their clinical staff.  The rehabilitation team must partner with the patient in an effort to relearn common tasks and activities and learn to compensate for their lost abilities.  A therapist can help patients to learn to dress, eat, bathe, use the restroom, and travel short distances.  Therapists also monitor the patient’s ability to safely swallow food, drink fluids, and help with communication.  A neuropsychologist helps patients relearn cognitive functions and develop skills to compensate for any loss of ability with their memory, cognitive ability, and emotional needs.

Symptoms Of A Traumatic Brain Injury

The symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury can vary depending on the damage caused by the injury and the section of the brain that was affected by the impact.  Some of these symptoms show up immediately after the impact, while others may not manifest until several days or weeks after the primary injury occurred.  Traumatic Brain Injuries are typically considered either mild, like a concussion, or severe.  In cases of severe TBIs, the person who experienced the impact may lose consciousness for an extended period of time.  Although the loss of consciousness or coma is not necessarily necessary components to diagnose a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.  Any TBI, whether it is considered mild or severe, can result in short-term or long-term symptoms

Behavioral changes due to a TBI can include:

Strained social skills

Difficulty empathizing with others

Self-centeredness or Narcissism

Loss of control over emotions

Agitation and increased in irritability


Inappropriate behavior

Aggressive behavior

Dramatic mood swings


TBI treatment in Orange County CA

Cognitive changes due to a TBI can include:

Decreased attention span

Problems with Memory

Difficulties with Problem-solving

Poor judgment

Loss of ability to read and write

Loss of vocabulary

Difficulty communicating

Trouble understanding difficult ideas

Difficulty learning new things


Slurred Speach

Traumatic Brain Injuries And Depression

People who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury are approximately 3 times more likely to develop depression than someone without a TBI.  The danger of developing depression is present regardless of whether the TBI was mild, moderate, or severe.  Some people experience the symptoms of depression directly after the initial injury, while others don’t develop symptoms until years later.  About 30% of people with a TBI will develop Clinical Depression in the years following their injury.  Depression can exacerbate the negative symptoms of a TBI and make recovery even more difficult.  Patients who are experiencing depression after a TBI are less likely to have positive outcomes from rehabilitation.  Depression can cause a person with a TBI to be less social, decrease their daily activities, get less sleep, have a poorer mood, decrease employment opportunities, and have an overall lower quality of life.  When coupled with the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury, depression becomes even more dangerous.  A person with a TBI who s suffering from Depression will also have an increased risk of suicide.  

Dual-Diagnosis: Traumatic Brain Injury And Addiction

Traumatic Brain Injuries are closely tied to substance abuse.  About 30% of people who require rehabilitation after suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury were intoxicated in some way at the time of their injury.  Alcohol and drug use can severely impair a person’s judgment and motor skills, thereby leading to an increased likelihood of experiencing a serious injury.  Substance abuse can become even more of an issue after a head injury.  Research has shown that alcohol and drug use either stays constant or increases in the years following a TBI.  When coupled with the psychological impact of a moderate to severe brain injury, this can hamper or halt the TBI rehabilitation process. 

People recovering from a TBI are generally effected more by drugs and alcohol than those without a head injury.  Substance abuse can further impede their ability to focus, maintain balance, and make good decisions.  This can lead to another injury or further exasperate symptoms that they are already experiencing.  A dual-diagnosis TBI and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) can interfere with the brain’s natural healing process.  They may be at greater risk of suffering from seizures, further cognitive decline, the symptoms of depression and the risk of suicide.  Many people who have sustained a TBI have also been prescribed prescription pain medication.  In the case of opiates like Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin, Demerol and Norco, this can trigger a new addiction if a person is predisposed to substance abuse issues.