Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may substantially increase the risk of suicide, according to a new study outlined in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to the study, which utilized the Danish Cause of Death registry, of the approximately 7.5 million people living in Denmark, death by suicide occurred among more than 34,500 between 1980 and 2014. As well, about 1 in 10 of those who took their own lives had previously suffered a TBI.
Factors predicting the risk of suicide
Trine Madsen, one of the prime authors of the study, stated that the suicide risk increased by 81 percent among individuals who had experienced mild TBI, including concussions. Persons with even more severe brain injuries had an elevated suicide risk, equivalent to twice that of an individual with no prior brain injury. The risk of suicide in individuals was predictable by three definitive factors:
- Severity of the brain injury
- Receiving an initial brain injury as a young adult
- Discharge from the hospital for brain injury in the previous six months
The study also suggests the risk is present in those who have sustained a TBI in childhood.