Brain Injury Associated With Depression in Soldiers, Says Study

Depression is one of the many problems that soldiers often face and this could be due to various reasons. In a recent study, a team of researchers found that one of the reasons for increased depression among soldiers could be an injury to the brain.

They said that any mild traumatic injury to the brain (mTBI) during combat could result in a disruption in the circuitry of the cognitive-emotional pathways, which, in turn, may result in depressive symptoms. They used an array of brain imaging procedures, including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and resting-state functional MRI (fMRI), to come to this conclusion.

Many uncomfortable situations can erupt due to an mTBI in soldiers who are symptomatically depressed. Some of the issues can be poor emotional dispensation, rumination and constant worrying, said Ping-Hong Yeh, Ph.D., a physicist and scientist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Dr. Yeh added that due to significant enhancement in body armor and latest medical facilities, the chance of surviving a trauma has gone up among soldiers. Thus, a large number of soldiers return with an mTBI from combat zones.

“Mood disorders are very common in military-related mTBI patients. This is an ongoing problem facing a large number of warriors in current areas of conflict, and it is likely to be a persistent problem for the foreseeable future,” said Yeh.

The respondents were chosen from a group of 130 active males who are still in service and exhibited symptoms of mTBI. Further, the control group included 52 men without any mTBI. The researchers evaluated the respondents by using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), which is a 21-item, self-reporting study that gives a measure of depression. A BDI score over 20 means moderate to severe symptoms of depression in a person.

The BDI results showed that 75 of the respondents who had mTBI had symptoms of moderate to severe depression. The imaging results revealed that the white matter tracts appeared to be disrupted in them. These tracts are actually circuits that act as connections among brain regions meant for emotional and cognitive control. Changes were observed even in their gray matter (emotional-cognitive networks).

The DWI and the resting-state fMRI revealed that there were consistencies in the areas of disrupted neuro-circuitry, said Dr. Yeh. The researchers had related the functional and structural brain changes in emotional-cognitive networks to symptoms of depression in the mTBI patients. They now assume that the current findings could lead to better treatment strategies in the future for depressive symptoms.

Depression and PTSD among soldiers

Symptoms of both depression and PTSD are quite common among soldiers, especially for those who have returned from a war zone. The sights that unfurl before one’s eyes are bound to overwhelm even the toughest of them all, and when it comes to wars, there is no dearth of such painful, distressing events. It is not difficult to understand the mental state of soldiers who have returned from wars. It is only with an intervention that such depressive symptoms can be addressed in the best possible manner.

Recovery road map

Mental health conditions need immediate attention, lest symptoms exacerbate, making it difficult to manage later. Even milder symptoms of depression can lead to major upheavals, if not looked into at the earliest.

If you have someone at home suffering from depression and you are scouting for a depression treatment center in Texas, contact the Texas Depression Treatment Help. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866–827–0282 for information about the best Texas depression treatment centers.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.