WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The notion that concussions among U.S. military members serving in Afghanistan and Iraq brings about a greater risk for suicide is as strong as ever.

A new paper published this week detailed how military personnel in Iraq who had suffered multiple concussions were more prone to think about or go through with suicide compared to people who had suffered one or no concussions.

According to the paper, 161 subjects who had suspected concussions were questioned about their history of head trauma. Amongst the subjects with two or more concussions, 12 percent said they had considered suicide, by far the largest number among the tested groups. For those subjects who had never suffered a concussion, none of them reported having suicidal thoughts with in the past year. And only 3 percent of those people with one concussion had considered suicide.

“All of a sudden the likelihood of being suicidal increased dramatically once you had the second head injury,” Craig Bryan, lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times.

The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, is the latest research to support the idea that two of the U.S. military’s two biggest epidemics are indeed linked to each other, and that more is needed to address the issue. Bryan told the LA Times that the troops who suffer multiple concussions are hesitant to recognize the problems that come with the pain.

“They very much want to be returned to duty,” Bryan said. “They feel guilty letting everybody else down while they are in a clinic.”


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