It has been reported that the number of people suffering from brain injuries related long term neuropsychiatric problems, following an accident, is increasing. Recent technological and scientific advances in brain injury science and the patient pathways means more people are surviving more serious brain injuries according to leading Neuropsychiatrist, Dr Niruj Agrawal.
Dr Agrawal, a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist based at St George’s Hospital, led a talk at our twelfth annual brain injury lecture hosted by partner, Jonathan Clement, a leading personal injury lawyer and specialist in brain injury claims. With a record turnout of leading health and legal professionals who help people with brain injuries everyday, Dr Agrawal discussed the neuropsychiatry of brain injuries post brain injury.
Dr Agrawal hopes that by prioritising and moving the focus on to getting the right treatment and assessment early; anyone with a brain injury could reduce or stop their long term neuropsychiatric consequences and improve their functioning and quality of life. “The sufferers, even with mild injuries, need to receive crucial treatment at the earliest opportunity.”
Dr Agrawal believed many people underestimate the severity and impact of brain injuries and associated neuropsychiatric problems. Detection and management of such problems must be improved to stop problems developing later. He says it is important to look at how the patient reacts to the brain injury and how their emotions and behaviour are affected and not just at the nature and severity of brain injury itself, therefore treating the symptoms rather than the injury.
He found that depression following a brain injury is ‘underestimated’. Dr Agrawal recognised that people will present with much wider psychological and neuropsychiatric symptoms and not just depression. This greater range of emotional problems are not being correctly identified and treated. Health experts struggle to distinguish between apathy, amotivation, depression and phobic disorders. The risk of suicide is significantly higher in brain injury cases than general population.
Dr Agrawal also discussed the fact that there is potentially a correlation between dementia and brain injury sufferers. Recent research suggests those with moderate to severe injuries are more susceptible to early onset dementia in later life. Dr Agrawal believed there was a possibility that Dementia drugs could be used to help treat the brain injury related neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric problems. Although he recognised that further research was needed there have been cases with positive results giving hope to those sufferers.
To find out more about what was discussed at the event, or to register your interest for 2016, please contact Jonathan Clement on 01892 701264.
The annual brain injury lecture offers health professionals the opportunity to learn about cutting edge developments in brain injuries. With 2015’s event being the twelfth consecutive year, this event was no exception in offering leading insight and topical discussion around people affected by brain injury.