Neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric recovery from mild traumatic brain injury

Kathryn A. Ritchie, Beth S. Slomine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a significant public health concern for children. This review summarizes recent literature on early symptoms and neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological outcomes following pediatric mTBI and highlights factors that predict prolonged recovery. Evidence-based recommendations for assessment and treatment are also discussed. Recent findings Whereas most children recover within 1 month after mTBI, 10-30% of children experience lingering neuropsychiatric or neuropsychological symptoms 3 months or more after injury. For the subset who experience prolonged recovery, new or worsening emotional and behavioral symptoms are the most frequent concerns. Recent research has suggested that specific factors, including preinjury mental health concerns, female sex, and family characteristics, are associated with increased risk of experiencing prolonged recovery. Early management includes reassurance, brief rest (1-3days), and gradual return to typical activities. When symptoms linger for more than 4weeks, evaluation in a specialty clinic is recommended and multimodal therapies are considered. Active recovery models, which include gradual return to aerobic exercise and cognitive behavioral approaches, are promising for the management of prolonged symptoms. Summary A minority of children with mTBI experience prolonged neuropsychiatric or neuropsychological concerns. While our understanding of pediatric mTBI is growing, and recommendations for assessment and management have been developed, many gaps remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Concussion
  • Mild traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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