Head injuries increase addictive behavior

A study published this February showed an increase in addictive behaviors in those who suffered a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). While the study showed a link between  TBIs and alcohol or nicotine dependance, one must also consider the effects a brain injury may have on our addictive behaviors around other things, like food. Might a past head injury or brain trauma influence our cravings and addictive-like behaviors around certain foods and contribute to weight gain? Might alcohol and cigarette addiction best be treated by treating the brain first?

The study looked at head injuries from motor vehicle accidents or falls. A “mild TBI” was defined as one with transient confusion or disorientation, memory loss, or brief loss of consciousness. Interestingly, the increase in use or dependance of substances occurred the most in the 30 days following the brain injurry.

Every year in America, at least 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur. Children aged 0 to 4 years, teens aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI. Adults aged 75 years and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.

We treat many patients with both known and suspected head injuries at ITH using neurofeedback. Ask about the great results we are seeing in this arena!

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