TBI and Mental Illness Among the Homeless or Vulnerably Housed

Janelle Forsgren, SN

Topolovec-Vranic, et al. performed a non-blinded, randomized controlled trial of 2088 homeless or vulnerably housed participants to determine the connection between a history of psychiatric illness and a history of TBI with loss of consciousness. 53% of participants had a history of TBI with loss of consciousness. Among those with a history of TBI, they were more likely (statistically significant) to have the following characteristics:

  • Male
  • Less educated
  • Aboriginal or ethno-racial
  • Precariously housed
  • Have a higher prevalence of mental disorder diagnosis (major depressive disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, mood disorder with psychotic features, substance dependence or abuse, alcohol dependence or abuse)
  • Higher suicidality
  • Physical health concerns (migraine headaches, epilepsy, seizures)
  • Visit or wish to visit a medical provider more often
  • Visit the ER more often
  • Have more encounters with the criminal justice system

Although these characteristics were found from this study, it is important to note that these results are specific to the group of people studied. In all, those who fall under these categories may be at a higher risk of TBI. Further development of treatment and resources for these groups will increase effectiveness of managing TBIs.

Topolovec-Vranic, J. et al. (2017). The high burden of traumatic brain injury and comorbidities amongst homeless adults with mental illness. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 87, 53-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.12.004

Retrieved from https://ac-els-cdn-com.erl.lib.byu.edu/S0022395616307403/1-s2.0-S0022395616307403-main.pdf?_tid=305822fa-7e1f-4590-8af6-bf6d3dc60834&acdnat=1520122922_dac5fcd1bfcab94fb16584f79b4c675d

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