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Long-Term Survival in Traumatic Brain Injury and Near-Death Experience Increases Suicide Risks: A Personal Experience and Related Literature

DOI: 10.4236/ojmp.2022.113009, PP. 112-124

Keywords: Traumatic Brain Injury, Long-Term Outcome, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Near-Death Experience, Suicide

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Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a cause of lifelong disability, death, and suicide worldwide. TBI-induced near-death experience (NDE) could increase suicide risks. Objective: We investigated TBI coupled with NDE and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a possible indicator of suicide. Methods: A 17-year-old male who sustained an acute severe TBI in a traffic collision, was comatose 14 days, had an NDE awakening from the coma, and, years after rehabilitation, suffered PTSD, clinical depression, and survived a suicide attempt. This personal experience of a TBI-induced NDE and lingering PTSD was acquired directly from the patient by interview. We discuss his case while considering relevant literature. Results: Longitudinal data from 1961 to 2021 generated from the PubMed interface revealed 4056 TBI patients committed suicide. NDE was only reported in one of those cases and, although not a suicide, in the personal experience. Neuropsychological assessment at long-term follow-ups revealed few TBI patients exhibited normal mental/physical functions compared to the general population. Unfavorable GOS scores were risk predictors for neuropsychological/physical impairments later in life, with outcomes of depression, PTSD, poor QOL, and/or suicide. Conclusions: For TBI-NDE survivors, including those with PTSD, long-term periodic neuropsychological follow-ups and psychosocial support may help decrease suicide risks.


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