why does my doctor refuse me a brain scan?

i was attacked and beaten over my head with an iron bar at 14,6 years later i was attacked again and kicked in the head until unconscious,both times my jaw was broken,since then i have suffered severe depression. iv'e had counciling and tried every drug possible to help but with no effect. for 10 years iv'e asked for a brain scan but been told there is no reason to have one. i feel that the attacks have caused brain damage that may or may not be treatable,all i want is to know.please help,i'm at the end of my tether.

11 Replies

  • do you have any other issues other than depression?

  • thanks for your reply biker,it does help to know people care.

    yes biker,i suffer from a permanent headache.occasionally it,becomes severe for a few moments,and all i see is a blinding white light.i believe iv'e also suffered blackouts but due to the fact that after the attacks (both were unprovoked,truly wrong time wrong place) i started to drink heavily,the doctor have dismissed the blackouts and headache and put it down to drink.i am currently under the care of a dual services,,addiction and mental health. i was dry for 5months last year and still suffer the headache and woke ounce on the floor after knocking myself out.the dual services cannot send me for the scan...

    my true belief is my doctors are scared to send me,as this should of happened after the attacks.

  • i didn't have my a scan until about years ago (my injury was 17 years ago) i had lots of tests and my behaviour issues which showed the head injury, so an mri was merely a formality as such which showed multiple pockets of damage, but an mri wont always show up the injury depending on what the injury is

    I reckon they are trying to control the depression and addiction that way they can see what's symptoms are left.

    personally (in my case) i don't feel depression is a symptom of brain injury its as non brain injured people get depressed too, yes the injury contributes, but is not the cause, as there are so many external factors that can add to depression, life can be hard enough without a brain injury, so the injury is just another external stressor which adds to depression.

    i have no experience with addictiion or excessive alcohol consumption so cant really have an opinion on whether blackouts and headaches can happen from it

    but like Headway have said ask your gp for a referral to a neuropsychologist and i am sure they can check one way or another and either put your mind at ease or confirm an injury

    either way you are no worse off than where you are now.

  • thank you again biker,

    my first attack was nearly 30 years ago,i have had counciling repeatedly and as i say,taken every drug possible but to no avail. i saw a neurolagist who told me it was most likely i have scarring to my brain but she was only looking for ms at the time and told me to ask my doctor to arrange a scan if they thought it was appropriate. it is my doctors who are refusing to send me for a scan on the grounds that what differance would it make?? useing my drink habbit as the cause of everything..i only want to know if i have damage and if that damage causes my depression,mood swings anxietys headache etc..as you can imagine,i would prefer to find out it's not the cause,then i can move on and look at other treatment such as ect as suggested by my psychiatrist.

    as i say,i did 5 months dry and it changed nothing,slowly i started to drink again but i'm detoxing again next week and back on antabuse.

    my psychiatrist asked me what the original scan of my brain showed,,i told him i have never had a scan,he looked at me in disbelief and said he would write to my gp to get the scans,i repeated that iv'e never had a scan. i do feel that i'm being treated as a liar or a fraud.

  • i think you need to straight up ask your GP for a referral to a specialist if they don't then either change GPs or make a complaint.

    do you have more than one GP at your practice, i can usually see one of three,

    one more thing worth considering (if you can afford it) is to privately see a specialist for an initial consultation (i think maybe 150 to 200 quid) because if they think that there is an injury they can either refer you or recommend you get refereed and then it goes back through the NHS (you will have to double check this as i am not 100% certain how it works, but someone like NHS direct may be able to advise you better

    i found this site


  • yes biker,i have seen 5 different gps at my surgery and been scoffed at and one even suggested it was so i could claim the dole?? i have run a succesfull business for over 20 years useing drink and anphetamines to get through?? strange as that may sound to anyone,it helped.

    eventually though,i couldn't cope anymore,i attempted suicide,lost my wife and kids,

    i don't sit here in self pitty,i know the abuse is a huge factor in my depression but i know deep down that there is an underlying problem,a damage that has repeatedly been ignored,a simple thing that would of confirmed this,may of been dealt with years ago.

    i genuinely believe that the refusal is down to my gp's having to admit neglect.

    i don't have the money anymore to go private.

    changing gp is something i have thought about but the stress off this and having to go through everything again scares me.

    thank you for your help,i now know that i need to push this,stop being bullied by my doctor and demand it.

  • Hi tecky,

    Thank you for your question.

    A brain scan is only one of a number of ways a brain injury can be diagnosed. Given that you have sustained two serious head injuries, and you feel the depression has started since then, it may be worth asking your GP if you could be referred to a specialist.

    A neuropsychologist seems appropriate, as they will be able to assess your symptoms and make a judgement as to whether there is brain injury.

    In many areas a neurologist is the preferred first-line of assessment, and they can refer on to other specialists and brain scans if they feel it is necessary.

    You might find it helpful to show your doctor our new GP management and referral information at headway.org.uk/gp.aspx

    As bikerlifestyle asks, it would be helpful to know if you are experiencing any other symptoms alongside the depression so we can better support you.

    If you would like to discuss things in confidence, please don't hesitate to contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk.

    Best wishes,


  • thank you headway,it's good to know there is support out there.please read my above reply to biker.

  • Contact Headways Solicitor and tell him what youve just told me and they will push for a brain scan to be done soon as mate am sorry to here how you are no one knows what its like to have a head injury unless they get one their selfs a wish you all the luck contact headways or email them and tell them you want a solicitor to contact you or fone the healthboard direct and explain your case and you will have some luck hopefully keep intouch let me know how you get on buddy

  • thanks blue

  • the irony is that i'm repeatedly told,it's all in my head??hahaha

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