Date of Graduation

Summer 8-10-2013

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Professor Sommers


Background: In recent years there has been debate among the medical community in looking to correlate traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) with the onset of psychiatric disorders. Some patients who have sustained TBIs (whether mild, moderate, or severe) appear to suffer long-term health effects whether mental or physical. Patients deal with challenges everyday as a result of their TBIs and thus it is important to address these issues early post-injury. In doing so, it will allow patients to have better access to treatment options initially after their injury, with the hope that they will not suffer long-term consequences. Two of the biggest challenges facing patients are depression and anxiety, especially in the first year after sustaining a TBI. With cases such as these, it is vital to understand that early intervention for novel psychiatric disorders post-TBI, is imperative in reducing long term consequences.

Method: An exhaustive search of medical literature was conducted using Medline-Ovid, CINAHL, Web of Science, Medline-PubMed, and Up to Date using the key words: brain injuries, mental disorders, diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, and DSM. The reference lists and bibliographies of the articles were further searched looking for other relevant studies. Relevant articles were then assessed for quality using GRADE.

Results: Seven studies met inclusion criteria and were included in this systematic review. Five of the studies were prospective and two of the studies were retrospective. All seven of the studies looked to correlate novel psychiatric disorders as a result of patients sustaining a TBI specifically in the first year post-injury. The studies showed a direct correlation of novel psychiatric disorders as a result of a TBI, with the two most prevalent disorders being depression and/or anxiety.

Conclusion: Patients who sustain a TBI, regardless of severity, are at a higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder within the first year post-injury than those who have not. In the studies reviewed, depression and/or anxiety were the two most common novel disorders after sustaining a TBI. It is important to recognize that patients with brain injuries are at higher risk for psychiatric disorders in order to place an emphasis on earlier screening measures and interventions immediately post-injury.

Keywords: brain injuries, mental disorders, diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, DSM

FinalPoster.ppt (665 kB)