Did Seau’s Ambien Use Contribute to His Depression?

We previously discussed traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) after the death of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau last month. In the video above, Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that there was enough evidence to suggest that previous blows to the head sustained on the football field contributed to the condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). While Seau’s brain is currently being studied for the progressive degenerative disease that can only be diagnosed posthumously, USA Today reported on June 1, 2012, that Seau had also been struggling with another issue for years: a sleep disorder.

According to friends of Seau, the former NFL star had been taking Ambien, the brand name for a prescription sleep drug called zolpidem. You hear Dr. Gupta mention depression as one of the issues that individuals suffering CTE also struggle with, and FDA-approved prescribing information for Ambien says that depressed patients using the drug have reported suicidal thoughts or actions. Furthermore, the warning also states that Ambien should not be taken by people who consume alcohol or still cannot get a full night’s sleep while using the drug, both of which the USA Today article indicates applied to Seau.

We bring up this story because substance abuse issues are common among individuals who have sustained TBIs. Recovery from a brain injury or addiction can be difficult enough separately, but the process is even more difficult when seeking rehabilitation for both. More importantly, TBIs are not limited to just professional athletes, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year. These injuries may be the result of repeated blows to the head or just one significant strike to the skull, such as a fall at work or a car accident. On Friday, we will discuss another recent example of substance abuse issues in conjunction with brain injuries, but if you or a loved one is struggling with recovery following a TBI that was the fault of another party, contact our Orlando personal injury law firm today for a free consultation to see how we may be able to help.

Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers



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