A traumatic brain injury (or TBI) is an injury to the head that disrupts the normal functions of the brain. This can range from a mild concussion that causes dizziness to a severe TBI that causes unconsciousness and permanent impairment.
TBIs can be caused by a bump, jolt, or penetrating injury to the head. Some TBIs are caused by what appear to be relatively mild incidents: whiplash from a car accident can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull. This can result in bruising, bleeding, and permanent brain damage.
Short Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
Shortly after a Traumatic Brain Injury occurs, the patient can experience a variety of symptoms such as:
- Feeling dazed or confused
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping extra
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
Any injury or blow to the head that causes behavioral changes should be treated by a doctor immediately. A doctor’s help is very important in minimizing the damage to the brain and getting help early can make a big difference in the long run.
Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
The way the brain works is still poorly understood by scientists, so it is hard to predict how a traumatic brain injury will affect an individual. Different parts of the brain control different functions, so the location of the injury will affect the symptoms.
The brain controls many of the processes that make us “us,” so a TBI can cause profound changes to the way a person functions and experiences the world. The symptoms of a TBI can change over time as the brain heals and adapts. Common effects of TBI include:
- Cognitive changes, like difficulty concentrating, remembering, or learning
- Emotional changes, like mood swings, aggression, and depression
- Personality changes
- Problems with vision, smell, taste, touch, and hearing
Most mild TBIs will resolve with time. Moderate to severe TBI symptoms can resolve over months or years, or persist for a lifetime.
Patients with mild traumatic brain injury usually need rest, painkillers, and close monitoring for symptoms that get worse.
Patients with moderate or severe brain injuries need emergency care to control their symptoms and prevent additional damage. Emergency medical care is crucial for patients with moderate to severe brain injuries because there are many measures doctors can take to prevent additional damage to the brain. This includes medication, immobilization, and occasionally surgery.
Patients with traumatic brain injuries often need rehabilitation to help them recover from the injury. Rehabilitation starts in the hospital, and continues in an outpatient facility once the patient is well enough.
Rehabilitation helps the patient relearn skills they need on a daily basis. The patient may need speech therapy and physical therapy to relearn speech and basic movements. The patient may also need talk therapy with a mental health professional and vocational counseling to address challenges in the workplace.
Recovery from a traumatic brain injury can take a long time: months to years. However, that also means that some traumatic brain injury patients continue to improve years after the injury. The brain is a complex, adaptive organ capable of healing. Depending on the location and the severity of the injury, the brain can make significant recoveries from injuries.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
The brain is a fairly delicate organ, so any event that shakes, strikes, or hits the head violently can injure the brain. The severity of the injury usually depends on the force and location of the impact.
The most common causes of TBIs in the US are:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Struck by/ against events
Children, teenagers, young adults, and the elderly are most likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury. It is important to prevent head injuries in young children and the elderly by removing tripping hazards at home. It is also important for people of all ages to wear seat-belts while in the car and helmets while playing contact sports, riding a motorcycle, or biking.
Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Workplace
Employees that work in risky jobs should wear appropriate safety gear, and employers should make sure that work areas are free of hazards.
If your employer did not take safety precautions in your workplace, they were breaking the law, and you should not have to suffer because of it. We can help you get compensation.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of traumatic brain injuries. Sadly, many accidents harm people that were doing no wrong: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists get hit by drivers who do not pay attention. Truck Drivers take unnecessary risks and hurt the drivers of smaller vehicles. Law-abiding drivers get permanently injured or killed by drunk drivers.
Other traumatic brain injury patients are the victims of faulty equipment that should have protected them in a car crash. SUVs, for instance, are very likely to rollover in the event of a crash. This means that an SUV driver is much more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury in a crash.
Crashes can also happen because of tire defects. Because tires support the full weight of a vehicle, any problem with a tire’s construction can result in a devastating car accident.
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