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Europa Medicophysica 2002 December;38(4):167-178


language: English

Prevalence of neuropsychiatric disorders in traumatic brain injury patients

Cantagallo A., Dimarco F.

Rehabilitation Neuropsychiatry Unit Department of Rehabilitation and Post-acute Long-term hospitalization “Arcispedale Sant’Anna” University Hospital, Ferrara, Italy


Aims. Neuropsychiatric disorders following traumatic brain injury (TBI) are very common both in the clinical practice and in the literature. It’s known that cerebral impairments modify the biological and psychological status of a person, therefore they induce temporary or permanent changes in both emotional and motivational behaviours. Aim of this study was to evaluate the type, the frequency and the severity of various neuropsychiatric disorders in a population of TBI patients. A second objective was to study the relationship between the neuropsychiatric disorders and the demographic and clinical variables.
Methods. We administered the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) to a group of 53 caregivers of TBI patients.
Results. After the administration of the NPI scale, the most frequent disorders are found to be irritability (with 60.47% of frequency), followed by depressione (58.5%) and agitation (50.9%). Apathy is present with 47.2% of frequency and anxiety with 37.7%. The variable “lesion” (unilateral and bilateral) and the length of Post Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) are a predicitive variable to the development of depression, apathy, eating disorders and night behaviour disturbances. We also found significant relations between presence of neuropsychiatric disorders and presence of social disorders and problems in the resumption of the family role.
Conclusions. Great are the advantages of the NPI. Compared to other instruments, it assesses many different neuropsychiatric disorders. The systematic use of this scale might help us to better understand behavioural changes (e.g. after cognitive behavioural therapy or pharmacological treatment) in different stages of the pathology and in different types of pa-tients.

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