Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a wide variety of accidents, ranging from falls to car wrecks and blows to the head. When a person’s brain is injured, it creates long-lasting and serious implications on their day-to-day life. Here’s how a traumatic brain injury could impact yours.
The History of Brain Injury Study
It is only in recent history that researchers have begun to understand how the human brain functions. Before the 18th century, physicians believed that mental function came from the soul, heart, liver, and sometimes the spleen. It was Franz Joseph Gall that introduced the idea of mental function taking place within the organ in our craniums.
That theory wouldn’t be proven true for some time, especially since it contradicted the current religious theories about the human soul. Over time, however, researchers would uncover that areas in the brain are responsible for various functions from irritability to compulsive behavior and language problems.
Today’s top researchers still know relatively little about brain function, despite so much knowledge being produced in studies. This is especially true for brain injury, as those who suffer a traumatic brain injury after an accident are usually unaware that their brain is injured at all or don’t realize they need evaluation.
What We Know Today
While research on traumatic brain is minimal, studies have revealed wide-ranging symptoms and those who have survived these injuries continue to reveal changes to their emotional and psychological makeup.
Known symptoms include the physical, sensory, and cognitive. These range from mild to severe, with a separate category for impacted children. Sleeping difficulties, seizures, and coordination issues are common physical symptoms. Sensory symptoms impact vision, hearing, taste, sight, and sound. Cognitive symptoms include:
- Agitation that can lead to combativeness
- Slurred speech
- Consciousness disorders
- And unusual behavior for the individual
Communication problems and behavioral changes are common. People may lose their ability to understand nonverbal cues, lose self-control as they engage in risky behavior, or see a sharp decline in their literacy. Some may develop degenerative brain diseases. Each case is different, but Mayo Clinic offers a full list of known symptoms.
Adjusting to Life After the Injury
In some cases, people suffer symptoms for a short time or develop symptoms that do not affect their daily lives. Some survivors have found that they became artistic, more sensitive, and became outgoing when they were once shy.
Whether the impacts are small changes like these or major ones, it’s essential that individuals speak with their doctor about any developing symptoms. Therapy may be the best medicine as you learn to adjust, along with support groups and the help of your loved ones.
Some people may also need speech therapy, to re-learn a lost skill, or for family members to help them fill the gaps in their memory. Since each case comes with its own symptoms, all of which have their own severity, an assessment is vital to understanding what the path forward looks like for each individual.