Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Contribute to Addiction
According to a study done by researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital, those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury or a concussion are more likely to use drugs. For the purpose of the study, a traumatic brain injury was defined as someone who was hit in the head, knocked out for more than five minutes, and was required to spend at least one night in the hospital.
Researchers studied over six thousand teens ages 14-18 who claimed to have had a traumatic brain injury or a concussion during their lifetime. These teens were found to be two to four times more likely to abuse drugs than teens who never suffered any brain injuries. More specifically, they are 2.1 times more likely to use illegally obtained ADHD medications, 2.5 times more likely to use cocaine, 2.7 times more likely to use opioids, and 3.8 times more likely to use crystal meth. They are also more likely to smoke one or more cigarettes per day and binge drink.
Although researchers are still unsure of the exact connection between a traumatic brain injury and substance abuse, the facts from the study are concrete. More studies are being done to find the direct link.