Traumatic brain injury (TBI) encompasses a broad range of causes, symptoms, and effects. Thus, it is important to understand the long-term impacts of such an injury.
This class of brain injury is notorious for being difficult to diagnose, and as such these injuries true effects may not become known until months or even years after the injury occurs. The human brain is a delicate organ, and the medical profession is still unlocking many mysteries about the function of the brain. Brain damage treatment and recovery breakthroughs occur on a regular basis.
For many injuries, however, the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury continue to present challenges, both to the injury victim and his or her medical caregivers.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any injury where the brain is damaged through a blow to the head, via a concussive force that jostles or jolts the brain and its connective tissues, or through penetration of the protective bones of the skull. In mild TBI cases, light bruising or concussions may be experienced.
In more severe cases, brain tissues may become badly bruised, may bleed, or may be sheared or torn from the injury. Traumatic brain injury pathophysiology requires careful study, including diagnostics and observation of an injury victim’s motor skills and behavioral status.
Common causes of TBI include motor vehicle crashes, childhood injury, sports-related injuries, slip and fall injuries where the head strikes a hard surface, or assaults resulting in head trauma.
Military personnel exposed to explosions or concussive forces in wartime or training scenarios are also at risk from developing mild or severe TBI.
Symptoms of TBI
TBI can range in severity from mild brain injuries to more severe cases. In general, symptoms of TBI can include:
- Changes in behavior and personality
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of memory retention abilities
- Temporary loss or interference with motor function
- Permanent motor function losses
Many of the symptoms of TBI may appear within hours or days of the injury event, and may resolve just as quickly. In other words, head injury symptoms may not be apparent until days later. Other signs of brain damage may appear many weeks or months after the initial injury. Diagnostic imaging is used to pinpoint areas of the brain that have become damaged, but even these advanced diagnostics cannot spot every injury. Therefore, accurate diagnosis of TBI remains a challenge.
Long-Term Effects of TBI
TBI presents numerous challenges to those who have experienced this type of head injury. There may be short-term effects, such as confusion or dizziness, particularly in mild cases. More severely-injured victims may have life-changing or even fatal effects from TBI. These include permanent disabilities or behavioral changes.
Someone who experiences a TBI may no longer be able to lead a normal, healthy life, such as being able to work or to complete daily tasks like cooking, shopping, and bathing. These injury victims may require long-term medical care and rehabilitation. In very severe cases, around-the-clock care and support may be needed.
Patients with TBI have reported signs and symptoms years after the injury occurs. Long-term effects of TBI include:
- Changes in sensitivity to light and to loud noises
- Changing or worsening visual acuity
- Epilepsy or the development of seizure disorders
- Chronic fatigue
- Higher risk of development of degenerative brain diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Negative social outcomes, including depression and withdrawal from everyday life
If you or someone you know has suffered from lasting effects of brain injuries, contact NYC’s #1 rated brain injury lawyer for a free consultation.
The Future of Brain Injury
The availability of and access to brain damage treatment protocols can improve health outcomes for many TBI victims. Head injury medications, recovery exercises, and TBI rehabilitation programs have been shown to help many injury victims regain some or all of their lost abilities. Recovery statistics, however, remain grim. The medical research community continues to study TBI in the hopes of developing better diagnostic and treatment options for those who have experienced this form of brain damage.