Post Education Definition

Post-Concussion Syndrome

Concussions typically occur after a person falls, gets into an auto accident, is the victim of a violent assault, or suffers a blow to the head during impact sports—especially boxing and football.

It is not known why certain patients develop PCS and others do not.

The severity of the concussion or TBI plays no role in the likelihood of developing PCS.

Who Is at Risk for Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Anyone who has recently suffered a concussion is at risk for post-concussion syndrome. A person is more likely to develop PCS if they are over the age of 40. Women are also more likely to have PCS, although this might be because women are more likely to seek medical care.

As several of the symptoms mirror those associated with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is believed that people with pre-existing psychiatric conditions are more likely to develop PCS after a concussion.

What Are the Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome?

After a TBI, a doctor may diagnose post-concussion syndrome by the presence of at least three of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • vertigo
  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • sleeping problems
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • apathy
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • personality changes
  • sensitivity to noise and light

There is no single way to diagnose PCS, as the symptoms vary for each patient. A doctor may request a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to make sure there are no significant brain abnormalities.

Although rest is often recommended after a concussion, it can perpetuate the psychological symptoms of PCS.

How Is Post-Concussion Syndrome Treated?

No single treatment exists for post-concussion syndrome. Instead, a doctor will treat the symptoms specific to the patient with PCS. When a patient experiences anxiety and depression, he or she may be referred to a psychiatrist for psychotherapy treatment. Cognitive therapy might also be suggested if memory issues are present.


Doctors can also prescribe the drug Amitriptyline to combat irritability, dizziness, and depressive symptoms. Antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and headaches.

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