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Traumatic brain injurys and substance abuse risk

After a traumatic brain injury, one additional issue that could be a concern is substance abuse. You may not have had any trouble with substance abuse in the past, but it’s a concern for anyone who has a traumatic event in his or her life. This isn’t often talked about as a side effect of traumatic brain injurys, but substance abuse does affect many people who are injured.

People with traumatic brain injurys may have had trouble with substance abuse before their injuries, but after injury, trying to cope with changes can result in substance abuse as well. It’s been studied and found that around 10 to 20 percent of people with a TBI develop a substance abuse problem after they’re injured.

Sometimes, after an injury takes place, no substance abuse occurs for some time. The person who was injured may feel that he won’t recover as well, avoiding drugs and alcohol completely. However, as progress slows or side effects of the injury begin to wear on the person, substance abuse can become a problem. After a TBI, the brain’s structure changes, making drinking alcohol or taking drugs more likely to cause problems. Many believe there is no safe amount to drink after a TBI because of the changes and damage that has already occurred.

Your long-term care may not end up involving treatment for substance abuse, but it’s important to know how brain injurys can affect you and your loved ones. After a brain injury, you have every right to seek out compensation for your ongoing care, so you can work toward a healthy lifestyle and getting back to a position where you can live comfortably in your day-to-day life.

Source: Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, “Substance Use after TBI: Information for Consumers,” accessed March 24, 2016

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