Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Addiction
mTBI and Addiction
Researchers have found that developing an addiction to drugs and alcohol increases during the time period immediately following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). In fact, studies have shown that people who had suffered a mTBI within the past 30 days are at a higher risk of alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, and nondependent use of illegal drugs.1 Fortunately, researchers state that the risk of addiction will again decrease after six months after injury.1
One study watched 5,065 cases of mTBI over three periods: one to 30 days, 31 to 179 days, and 180 days and more.1 The risk of alcohol dependence was elevated during all three periods, although it was at its peak during the first 30 days and decreased consistently over time.1 The pattern for nicotine dependence and nondependent illegal drug use followed the same pattern as alcohol dependence.1 Although the risk of addiction will decrease again, it will not go away completely, becoming a long-lasting health affect due to a mTBI.1
Risks of Addiction and mTBI
The risk of addiction after the occurrence of a mTBI is due to the potential for reduced healing, risk of seizures, risk of repeated mTBI, and residual cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments.1
 Lowry, F. (2013, March 8). Mild Traumatic Brain Injury a Risk Factor for Addiction. Medscape News Today. Retrieved March 20, 2013, from www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780477 mTBI.