Concussion

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of head injury caused when force is applied to the head or body (1). A concussion is considered to be a type of mild traumatic brain injury, where brain tissue is damaged and functioning is temporarily interfered with. The types of events that can cause a concussion vary, from motor vehicle accidents or a blow to the head during sports, for example.

While most people recover fully and quickly from concussion, a small proportion of people find that the symptoms do persist.

This can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. Mental health professionals can help provide assessment and treatment if your symptoms do not resolve.

Symptoms of concussion

The symptoms following a concussion vary, but can include a combination of physical, psychological and cognitive symptoms, including:

Concussion and mental health

Most people recover normally following concussion. A recent comprehensive review of the research found that most people had normal cognitive abilities (such as memory and concentration) by 90 days after the injury (2).

However, the relationship between brain injuries and mental health is complex and some people continue to experience problems. It appears that having mental health challenges before an injury can affect the duration of concussion symptoms. In addition, concussion can affect the likelihood of mental health symptoms following the injury. Research suggests that:

What to do if you have a concussion

It is important to seek medical assessment immediately if a concussion is suspected, to rule out any more serious brain injuries or complications.

In most cases, just rest is required for recovery, and you’ll quickly return to full health.

However, if problems are detected or if symptoms persist, further assessment by a specialist, such as a neuropsychologist, may be required.

How can a mental health professional help with concussion?

What other things should I do to recover from concussion?

Therapy types to consider

There are a number of different types of therapy considered helpful for treating any emotional, psychological challenges following concussion. Therapy types include:

The best-fitting type of therapist for you will depend on individual factors, symptoms, your location and finances. When selecting a mental health professional, it can be helpful to consider the following factors:

Type of therapist

It can be difficult to decide which type of mental health professional to see, with so many different provider types available.

As symptoms of concussion are related to an injury to the brain, you might want to consider working with a practitioner who has specialized knowledge in the area such as a licensed neuropsychologist.

If ongoing treatment or other types of therapy is required they will be able to help you to choose which type of professional this is best done with.

Qualifications and experience

Look for a licensed mental health professional. This ensures that the therapist has undertaken the appropriate education and training.

Personal fit

As is the case when seeking therapy for any reason, it’s important to consider the potential for developing a strong working relationship with your therapist. The trusting working relationship with a therapist is called the therapeutic alliance, and it’s the number one indicator of treatment efficacy.

Talk in advance

The best way to judge how you might feel about your prospective therapist is to ask for a preliminary phone call. Most therapists will be happy to oblige. This gives you the opportunity to ask about:

Try to speak to a few different therapists before making your mind up.

Zencare can help you to find a therapist who is a good personal fit. You can browse the videos of our vetted therapists and book a free phone call. This can help you to figure out whether you feel comfortable discussing difficult issues with the therapist, and gives a sense of what the therapist’s approach is like.

Sources and references

  1. https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PsychologyWorksFactSheet_Concussions.pdf
  2. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/neu-0000037.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK326715/
  4. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/concussions