Learn To Identify the Symptoms of Brain Injury So Your Family Member Gets Treatment Sooner!
A traumatic brain injury is a serious condition that can vary in severity from mild to severe. It occurs when the head suffers some sort of trauma, such as a blow or jolt, which causes damage to the brain cells and tissue. Typically, the damage due to traumatic brain injury has been underestimated or mischaracterized as a ‘bump on the head’. But traumatic injury to the brain can result in death or extremely harmful and permanent effects over time.
If you suspect someone has sustained a traumatic brain injury then it’s important to seek medical attention immediately! But you have to learn to identify the signs of a brain injury in someone else.
Traumatic Brain Injuries Are a Silent Epidemic
Traumatic brain injuries are a silent epidemic. It is estimated that over 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year. TBIs occur in sports games, car crashes, accidents, falls, trips, or even because of violent events. Overall, TBIs are involved in about 30% of injury-related deaths. Auto crashes are the leading cause for TBI-related deaths for those between the ages of 25 to 64 years old.
About 80% of TBIs are classified as mild traumatic brain injury. But the symptoms of brain injury in these types of TBIs are anything but mild. Mild TBIs do not cause external physical damage such as a fracture to the skull, and they do not show up on MRI or CT scans. This means that the actual number of mTBIs is much higher than the 1.7 million estimated occurrences. In addition, the symptoms of brain injury due to a mTBI can be severe, including serious cognitive deficiencies in spatial navigation and orientation skills, which may affect a person’s ability to navigate daily life tasks such as driving or reading bus schedules.
Symptoms of Brain Injury Due to TBI
The symptoms of this type of injury are varied and may include loss of consciousness, confusion, agitation, imbalance, trouble recognizing people or places, convulsions or seizures and nausea and vomiting.
Loss of Consciousness
Loss of consciousness is a symptom of traumatic brain injury. One warning sign that someone has suffered head trauma is that she passed out from the blow to the head. The troubling aspect of loss of consciousness is that the person may not even know it happened. A person who loses consciousness often does not remember or is even aware of it. Someone who saw the trauma or the aftermath can be the only one who can tell them that it happened.
Confusion or Memory Loss
Following the event, victims may exhibit confusion and slow response time as symptoms of a brain injury. The signs are often subtle and many people with an injury will show no outward signs at all for weeks or months after they’ve been hurt. If you suspect someone has had a brain injury, watch for unusually disoriented or foggy behavior. An injured person may repeat themselves, say things that don’t make sense, take a long time to respond, be atypically forgetful or temporarily amnesiac (amnesia) They may also have no memory of what has happened to them (retrograde amnesia).
Balance Problems and Nausea
A common symptom of brain injury is a lack of balance that did not exist before or troubles with coordination. The injured person may also feel nausea or ongoing muscle weakness. The severity varies from person to person and is not always clear at first glance if it’s just dizziness.
Change in Personality or Mood
Sometimes the hardest symptom of brain injury to detect is a change in personality or mood. This is because the person who suffered from traumatic brain injury may have experienced some type of damage to their frontal lobe, which controls how we think and feel about things. When someone has a traumatic brain injury that causes mood changes, it could be due to any number of reasons: loss of blood flow to the part of the brain controlling emotions; pressure on certain areas that cause emotional instability; chemical imbalances caused by trauma-induced neurotransmitter release.
Traumatic brain injury can cause many changes in a person’s personality, mood, and behavior. The most common symptom is an uncharacteristic anxiety or depression following the traumatic event. Mood swings are also quite common. And unusual behaviour or mindset are concerning symptoms that may indicate more subtle long-term damage to the brain.
Why You Need to Know the Symptoms of Brain Injury
You need to recognize the symptoms of a TBI because millions of people have suffered the injury and have never received help. Most of these symptoms are something you would observe in a family member. A doctor won’t be around for a whole day or week to observe mood and personality changes. The person who suffered the TBI may not think her balance is off. And a person will almost never be able to report to a doctor that his memory has seriously declined.
A concussion, even if seemingly mild, means they need medical attention. You may be the only person who can suspect a brain injury has occurred. If you are seeing these symptoms in a family member, you must get them to the doctor as soon as possible for a full assessment and possible referrals to experts in the brain injury field.