A blow to the head, whether from a fall, car accident or other incidents, can have devastating consequences. Some head injuries are mild and cause only temporary symptoms.
However, a traumatic brain injury can be moderate or severe, and the victims of these injuries result in symptoms that interfere with daily life and usually last a long time.
Causes of traumatic brain injuries
According to the Mayo Clinic, a TBI occurs when there is a violent jolt to the head. This causes the brain to move around, hitting the sides of the skull and tearing blood vessels. Common causes include motor vehicle, motorcycle and cycling accidents; falls; sports injuries and combat injuries.
Symptoms of TBIs
Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries cause physical, mental and emotional symptoms. Physical ones include loss of consciousness, dizziness, seizures, numbness, vomiting, headaches and loss of coordination. Mental symptoms include memory loss, confusion and slurred speech. Patients also have problems with executive functioning, communication and senses. Many also notice behavioral and emotional changes such as irritability, difficulty in social situations, self-control issues, aggressiveness, verbal outbursts, insomnia and depression.
Prognosis for victims
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 50% of people with severe TBIs require surgery shortly after the accident. Some may be in a coma or in a vegetative state.
Once a patient is stable, he or she will often need ongoing rehabilitation services to manage symptoms. The type and duration of rehabilitation varies depending on the location and severity of the injury. Examples of rehab services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy and neuropsychology. For some patients, therapy will be ongoing for years.