How Forensic Psychiatrists Evaluate Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury

By Octavio Choi, MD, PhD
fpamed Forensic Psychiatrist

Octavio Choi, Md, Phd

Octavio Choi, MD, PhD

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of injury that is caused by a sudden and violent blow or jolt to the head. It can result in a wide range of organic/cognitive/emotional injuries and behavioral symptoms, depending on the severity of the head trauma.

One area where forensic neuropsychiatry and criminal law intersects is in the evaluation of individuals who have committed crimes and have a history of TBI. Research has shown that individuals with TBI are more likely to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors and may be more prone to criminal behavior. As a result, forensic neuropsychiatrists may be called upon to evaluate individuals with TBI to determine if their criminal behavior was influenced by their brain injury or if they were even capable of understanding the consequences of their actions and/or have the capacity to participate in their own legal defense.

In addition to evaluating individuals with TBI, forensic psychiatrists may also be involved in forming evidence-based opinions about individuals who have both a TBI and a non-organically based mental disorder. This can be a complex and challenging task, as the symptoms of TBI and mental illness can overlap and exacerbate each other. This is why it is critical to retain only qualified forensic experts who have the necessary education and experience to deliver informed, unbiased, evidence-based opinions.

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