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Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries and Anxiety

Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBI’s) or concussions can be extremely complex injuries that result in symptoms like dizziness and headaches, however, did you know that these injuries can even result in changes to the brain that may lead to anxiety, depression or even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?


In our professional development this week, the ANR team was lucky enough to have Clinical Psychologist, David Unsworth come and speak to us about the physiology behind what can lead to anxiety and other psychological conditions in those who have sustained a mTBI/ concussion.


These types of injuries are recognised as ‘stressful events’ to the brain which can then activate and engage certain systems in the body that result in an increased heart rate, cortisol release as well as many other functions to combat the stressed state we find ourselves in. This response is normal and necessary, however in mTBI’s, sometimes this ‘stress phase’ can become prolonged and contribute to more chronic symptoms.


Aside from the injury itself inducing physiological changes, individuals who have experienced a mTBI may also be unable to work, be experiencing financial strain, relationship breakdowns and be fearful of engaging in triggering activities.


Considering these complexities, it is extremely important as neuro physiotherapists, we consider this in your assessment and use outcome measures to screen for any signs of depression or anxiety so we can make a referral to a psychologist if necessary.


These types of injuries are multifactorial and involve many systems in the body (the neck, inner ear, autonomic nervous system and psychological processes/ emotional center), so we have to make sure we look after both the body and the mind!


If you have any questions about concussion/ mTBI and anxiety, be sure to contact us for further information.

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