Depression after concussion more likely in women than men | Image Credit: © bongkarn - © bongkarn - stock.adobe.com.
The risk of depression after a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) is about 50% greater in women than men, according to data presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2023 Annual Meeting.
- Women have a significantly higher risk of developing depression after a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared to men, with a 50% greater likelihood.
- Approximately 1.5 million individuals in the United States experience TBIs each year, and these injuries are associated with long-term adverse effects, including behavioral changes and memory loss.
- Falls, intimate partner violence, trauma related to military service, and sports-related concussions, especially in women's soccer, are common causes of TBIs in women.
- Even women without prior mental health issues should be aware of the risk of developing depression after a TBI, and doctors are recommended to screen women with TBIs for depression.
- Women with TBIs have a significantly higher depression rate (29.3%) compared to men (21.9%), making them 48% more likely to develop depression.
A TBI is reported in about 1.5 million individuals in the United States per year. TBIs are associated with long-term adverse health effects including behavioral changes and memory loss.
In women, falls and intimate partner violence are common causes of TBIs. Other causes of TBIs include trauma related to military service and sports-related concussion, with women’s soccer having the highest concussion rate of all contact sports.
According to Isaac G. Freedman, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and anesthesiology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, even women without previous mental health issues should be aware of the risk of developing depression after a brain injury. Freedman recommended doctors screen women with a TBI for depression.
A recent review evaluating the link between TBI and depression in women included 691,364 individuals with a TBI, 360,605 of whom were women. Of women with a TBI, 29.3% developed depression. In comparison, 21.9% of men developed depression, making women. 48% more likely to develop depression than men.
“The resulting difference in brain circuits between men and women in combination with factors such as lack of social support, socioeconomic status, and inadequate treatment options may make some women more vulnerable to post-TBI depression,” said Benjamin F. Gruenbaum, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.
Researchers have not determined why the risk of depression after TBI is greater in women than in men. However, they recommended methods of preventing TBIs, including wearing a seatbelt when in the car and wearing a helmet when playing sports or when on a bicycle or scooter.
Women at much higher risk of depression after traumatic brain injury, analysis finds. American Society of Anesthesiologists. October 16, 2023. Accessed October 17, 2023.