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A Traumatic Brain Injury Overview: Causes and Symptoms

A traumatic brain injury (TBIs) generally results from a sudden blow, bump or concussive force to the head that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. The severity of a TBI can range from mild to severe—and the effects can last from a few minutes to a lifetime.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

Mild TBIs, often called concussions, generally involve a change in mental status or a loss of consciousness that lasts for less than 30 minutes—and people who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries generally achieve scores of 13 to 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. MRIs and CAT scans may reveal no obvious damage in people who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries, but concussion victims may still experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Change in sense of smell or taste
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Inattentiveness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues

Symptoms associated with mild traumatic brain injuries may not appear for days or weeks. As a result, doctors don’t diagnose many mild TBI cases until long after the precipitating injuries and do not diagnose others at all.

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries

Moderate TBIs generally involve many of the same symptoms as mild ones, except they do not go away as quickly—or they worsen with time.

People who experience moderate traumatic brain injuries may lose consciousness from 20 minutes to six hours, and generally score a nine to 12 on the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

Severe TBIs generally involve the loss of consciousness for more than 6 hours—and a score on the Glasgow Coma Scale of three to eight. As with moderate TBIs, the impact of a severe traumatic brain injury depends on:

  • The severity of the initial injury
  • The specific, disaffected physiological functions
  • The physiological functions that the injury did not damage
  • The completeness of the recovery
  • The resources available for rehabilitation and recovery

Severe traumatic brain injuries often result in neuro-biological damages that cause permanent loss—or a permanent lessening—of cognitive or sensory functions. These may include any or all of the following:

  • Attention
  • Comprehension
  • Concentration
  • Distractibility
  • Hearing
  • Impulsiveness
  • Language processing
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Processing
  • Smell
  • Speech
  • Taste
  • Vision

Severe traumatic brain injuries can also result in emotional and psychological changes for the injured parties. Examples include:

  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Emotional dependence
  • Irritability
  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Finally, severe traumatic brain injuries can result in physical changes—including, but not limited to:
  • Appetite changes
  • Chronic pain
  • Lost bladder and bowel control
  • Paralysis/spasticity
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders

Treatments

The severity of the injury and the injured party’s ability to obtain treatment and rehabilitative services will dictate how a doctor treats a traumatic brain injury. As a result, an appropriately trained physician must diagnose the type of TBI that the patient endured—and determine the appropriate treatment plan for the injured person.

Mild traumatic brain injuries may require nothing more than rest and over-the-counter medications to treat headaches. Even in the case of mild TBIs, however, closely monitor the injured party for several days for any persistent, worsening, or new symptoms.

Moderate traumatic brain injuries often require extended periods of inactivity and prescribed medications. In addition, a moderate TBI may take several weeks of gradual recovery.

Recovery from severe traumatic brain injuries varies according to the type and severity of the injuries—and the condition of the people before their head traumas. Someone who suffered a severe TBI always requires the oversight of a trained physician who can develop an individualized treatment plan and who can, thereafter, monitor the injured party’s progress or regression.

Several theories try to explain how a severely traumatized brain recovers functionality. These include:

Diaschisis: Uninjured areas of the brain that are linked to injured areas regain functionality.

Replacement: Areas of the brain that normally do not perform certain functions take them over from damaged areas of the brain that normally do.

Redundancy: Several areas of the brain can perform the same functions, so one area of the brain takes over duties that the injured area previously performed.

Behavioral substitution: The injured individual learns new ways to compensate for lost functionality.

Damaging Effects

Because severe traumatic brain injuries often require long-term care and treatments, they can leave ruinous impacts on injured parties and their families. TBIs may instantaneously and forever change responsibilities and damage relationships. Life is never the same after someone has suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.

No one is ever prepared to deal with the consequences of a severe traumatic brain injury—either to themselves or to a family member. The fear and urgency that occur at the time of the injury, the ambiguity and uncertainty that arise once it is clear that the injured party will survive, and the anxiety and stress that take place as afflicted parties deal with the long-term consequences of the injury all place enormous burdens on the entire family.

Call a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Today

If you suffered a traumatic brain injury, you know the difficulties you face in your recovery. For legal assistance defending your rights, contact the attorneys at The Dolman Law Group. We have experience working for the benefits of clients who have endured this type of injury and will fight to recover your just compensation. Give us a call at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
 Clearwater, FL 33765

 (727) 451-6900

Florida Brain Injury Attorney