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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 174579, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/174579
Review Article

Substance Use and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Risk Reduction and Prevention: A Novel Model for Treatment

1Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, CO 80220, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO 80111, USA
3Departments of Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO 80111, USA
4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
5Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, CO 80220, USA
6Center of Excellence, Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Canandaigua, NY 14424, USA
7Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 5 December 2011; Revised 15 February 2012; Accepted 21 February 2012

Academic Editor: Brian D. Greenwald

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer H. Olson-Madden et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and substance use disorders (SUDs) frequently co-occur. Individuals with histories of alcohol or other drug use are at greater risk for sustaining TBI, and individuals with TBI frequently misuse substances before and after injury. Further, a growing body of literature supports the relationship between comorbid histories of mild TBI (mTBI) and SUDs and negative outcomes. Alcohol and other drug use are strongly associated with risk taking. Disinhibition, impaired executive function, and/or impulsivity as a result of mTBI also contribute to an individual’s proclivity towards risk-taking. Risk-taking behavior may therefore, be a direct result of SUD and/or history of mTBI, and risky behaviors may predispose individuals for subsequent injury or continued use of substances. Based on these findings, evaluation of risk-taking behavior associated with the co-occurrence of SUD and mTBI should be a standard clinical practice. Interventions aimed at reducing risky behavior among members of this population may assist in decreasing negative outcomes. A novel intervention (Substance Use and Traumatic Brain Injury Risk Reduction and Prevention (STRRP)) for reducing and preventing risky behaviors among individuals with co-occurring mTBI and SUD is presented. Areas for further research are discussed.