Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a set of symptoms that may continue for weeks, months, or a year or more after a concussion – medically classified as a so-called mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). About 34 to 35% of people with concussion experience persistent or prolonged symptoms 3 to 6 months after injury. Prolonged concussion is defined as having concussion symptoms for over four weeks following the first accident in youth and for weeks or months in adults.
A diagnosis may be made when symptoms resulting from concussion last for more than three months after the injury. Loss of consciousness is not required for a diagnosis of concussion or post-concussion syndrome. However, it is important that patients find help as soon as they notice lingering symptoms within one month, and especially when they notice their mental health deteriorating, since they are at risk of post-concussion syndrome depression.
Though there is no specific treatment for PCS, symptoms can be improved with medications and physical and behavioral therapy. Education about symptoms and details about expectation of recovery are important. The majority of PCS cases resolve after a period of time.