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Psychiatric disorders commonly emerge during the first year following traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, it is not clear whether these disorders soon remit or persist for long periods post-injury. This study aimed to examine, prospectively: (1) the frequency, (2) patterns of co-morbidity, (3) trajectory, and (4) risk factors for psychiatric disorders during the first 5 years following TBI.
Participants were 161 individuals (78.3% male) with moderate (31.2%) or severe (68.8%) TBI. Psychiatric disorders were diagnosed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, administered soon after injury and 3, 6 and 12 months, and 2, 3, 4 and 5 years post-injury. Disorder frequencies and generalized estimating equations were used to identify temporal relationships and risk factors.
In the first 5 years post-injury, 75.2% received a psychiatric diagnosis, commonly emerging within the first year (77.7%). Anxiety, mood and substance-use disorders were the most common diagnostic classes, often presenting co-morbidly. Many (56.5%) experienced a novel diagnostic class not present prior to injury. Disorder frequency ranged between 61.8 and 35.6% over time, decreasing by 27% [odds ratio (OR) 0.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65–0.83] with each year post-injury. Anxiety disorders declined significantly over time (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.63–0.84), whilst mood and substance-use disorder rates remained stable. The strongest predictors of post-injury disorder were pre-injury disorder (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.41–4.25) and accident-related limb injury (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.03–3.07).
Findings suggest the first year post-injury is a critical period for the emergence of psychiatric disorders. Disorder frequency declines thereafter, with anxiety disorders showing greater resolution than mood and substance-use disorders.
Anxiety and depression are common following traumatic brain injury (TBI), often co-occurring. This study evaluated the efficacy of a 9-week cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program in reducing anxiety and depression and whether a three-session motivational interviewing (MI) preparatory intervention increased treatment response.
A randomized parallel three-group design was employed. Following diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, 75 participants with mild-severe TBI (mean age 42.2 years, mean post-traumatic amnesia 22 days) were randomly assigned to an Adapted CBT group: (1) MI + CBT (n = 26), or (2) non-directive counseling (NDC) + CBT (n = 26); or a (3) waitlist control (WC, n = 23) group. Groups did not differ in baseline demographics, injury severity, anxiety or depression. MI and CBT interventions were guided by manuals adapted for individuals with TBI. Three CBT booster sessions were provided at week 21 to intervention groups.
Using intention-to-treat analyses, random-effects regressions controlling for baseline scores revealed that Adapted CBT groups (MI + CBT and NDC + CBT) showed significantly greater reduction in anxiety on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [95% confidence interval (CI) −2.07 to −0.06] and depression on the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (95% CI −5.61 to −0.12) (primary outcomes), and greater gains in psychosocial functioning on Sydney Psychosocial Reintegration Scale (95% CI 0.04–3.69) (secondary outcome) over 30 weeks post-baseline relative to WC. The group receiving MI + CBT did not show greater gains than the group receiving NDC + CBT.
Findings suggest that modified CBT with booster sessions over extended periods may alleviate anxiety and depression following TBI.
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