Teens With Brain Injury More Likely to Use Alcohol and Drugs

Victims of brain injuries will often endure lasting symptoms, including mood changes, personality changes, depression, emotional disorders and other disabilities. According to a recent study, brain injury victims are at risk of another complication–addiction. Teenagers who suffer from a traumatic brain injury are twice as likely to drink alcohol or use drugs compared to those who have never suffered from a head injury. The study was conducted by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). According to conclusions of the study of high school students, published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, there is a toxic relationship between brain injuries and substance abuse.


Public health officials, school administrators, parents, as well as young victims should be wary of the potential link between brain injury and addiction to drugs or alcohol. According to researchers, underlying substance abuse issues can make it more difficult to treat a brain injury. Similarly, it can be more difficult to treat addiction when the patient has also suffered from a brain injury. Doctors involved with the study said that there was an ongoing pattern of drug and alcohol abuse in patients who have also suffered from a brain injury. Some of the patients were injured while they were under the influence and others became dependent on drugs or alcohol after the brain injury.

Hospital researchers and other addiction experts worked collaboratively on the study, which surveyed high school students who had suffered a brain injury. The survey defined a brain injury as any hit or blow to the head that resulted in being “knocked out” for at least five minutes. The survey also included brain injury victims who spent at least one night in a hospital. The researchers reviewed responses from 6, 383 teenagers. According to responses, there were 20% of students who had suffered a brain injury in their lifetime. In this group, the odds of drug or alcohol abuse were significantly higher.

Students who had suffered from a brain injury were nearly 4 times as likely to use crystal meth or to have used non prescribed tranquilizers or sedatives. The same group was nearly 3 times as likely to have used Ecstasy and 2.7 times more likely to have used opiod pain relievers without a legal prescription. Those who had suffered a head injury were also 2.8 times more likely to have used cocaine. The teens who suffered from TBI were also more likely to binge drink, smoke marijuana and cigarettes.

Victims of brain injury are also more likely to suffer from additional psychological and emotional problems, including anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction. Combining alcohol with these issues can be extremely dangerous and result in further injury. If you or someone you love has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, it is important to consult with an experienced advocate about the accident. In addition to recovering expenses for medical bills, you can also help to ensure maximum compensation for future care needs. Our Raleigh brain injury attorneys are dedicated to helping patients and their families protect their rights after an accident.

Contact the North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:
Christensen v. Alaska Sales – Early Head Injury Treatment Critical, Oct. 22, 2014, Winston-Salem Injury Lawyer Blog

Powers v. 31 E 31 LLC – Apartment Fall Premises Liability Lawsuit, Oct. 24, 2014, Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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