Living With Brain Injuries
Brain injuries whether “mild” or severe carry serious consequences. The brain is a medical mystery and doctor’s inability to predict the long term effects of a brain injury can be very frustrating to patients and their families. The results of a brain injury can impact unexpected areas of life, and the symptoms may show themselves in ways that do not initially appear to be related to the event which caused the injury. Injuries to different areas of the brain will create different results. The location of the injury can often be more meaningful than the severity of the injury.
Post Concussion Syndrome
People who suffer from brain injuries often develop something called post concussion syndrome (PCS). This is a specific set of disorders caused by traumatic brain injury. PCS is a common result of mild brain injuries. Sadly, the validity of PCS has been a matter of debate, and this has made it difficult for brain injury victims to get the education and the help that they need. PCS symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Difficulty with abstract thinking
- Slowed mental processing
- Impairment of attention
- Personality changes
- Sleep disorders
- Neck pain
Anger, depression, behavior and personality changes
Brain injuries can cause drastic personality changes. This is one of the hardest aspects of the injury for most people to deal with. Mood and behavioral changes are different for each injured person. Unprovoked anger, depression, loss of inhibitions, sudden and uncontrollable crying, and many other seemingly strange feelings and behaviors often start to emerge, sometimes not occurring immediately after the injury, but months later. One part of the brain creates impulses and another part controls them, so damage to these areas will effect how they balance each other out. Changing this delicate balance can radically change the way a person thinks, feels and acts. The impact is very upsetting to the injured person, confusing and frightening them. The people around them are often confused and frightened as well, and may begin to avoid the injured person or treat them differently. The overall effect can be isolation for the person with the brain injury, compounding the problems that he or she is already experiencing. The many difficulties created by brain injuries, such as physical and cognitive impairment, can cause depression. However, some brain injury victims do not manifest physical and cognitive symptoms, but suffer from the less tangible emotional symptoms alone.
Blackouts, epilepsy and seizures
Following a brain injury, many people experience frightening episodes of blackouts or seizures. During a blackout the victim often appears to be functioning normally, but later has no memory of their actions or the events which took place. A blackout can occur with or without a seizure. Many brain injury victims develop epilepsy. It has been estimated that more than half of all head injury victims develop epilepsy within one year of their injury.
The effects of brain injuries should never be underestimated simply because the injury is mild. This cannot be overemphasized. All brain injury victims need treatment and help. They need the support of their loved ones, and of the medical community. Often the less tangible results of brain injuries can be the most devastating and life-altering. While the physical impairments that brain injuries can cause are obvious, the cognitive and emotional disabilities can be difficult to understand and to prove when seeking compensation. It is imperative that brain injury victims work with doctors and attorneys who fully understand the nature and impact of brain injuries.
If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury, please see a personal injury lawyer such as Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter in Orlando, Florida or the Law Offices of Paul S Taub in Hartford, Connecticut.