Dealing with TBI and Navigating the Slow Road to Recovery

25.10.2016

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can turn your life upside down. After an extended stay in the hospital and prolonged treatment, it still takes a long time for life to limp back to normal.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain is damaged due to a bump, blow, or any other injury to the head. TBI occurs when the head is suddenly and violently jolted, forcing the brain to forcefully collide against the inside of the skull and suffer injuries.

A TBI, like any other major injury, is an acute event, but its effects and impact on your life are unlike any other. Our brain is one of the most complex entities ever known to man, and the study of the brain is still considered the last frontier in science.

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, be assured that though the path to recovery is difficult, it is not impossible. Here are a few things that you need to know about a traumatic brain injury, and how to recover and improve with the changes that have come over you.

Different Types of Head Injuries

All head injuries are severe injuries and need immediate medical attention. All types of head injuries are very dangerous because they impact the brain. Any injury to the brain, no matter how small it is, is considered a severe or traumatic injury requiring medical attention and specialized treatment.

Based on the damage sustained by the brain, brain injuries are classified as a mild traumatic brain injury, moderate traumatic brain injury, or severe traumatic brain injury.

In mild brain injuries, the only evidence of the brain being affected is loss of consciousness, confusion, or dizziness experienced by the person. There are no outward injuries, and X-rays and CT scans usually appear normal.

The loss of consciousness is usually brief and lasts only for a few minutes. The person feels normal quite soon after regaining consciousness. Disorientation and loss of memory are also commonly associated with mild TBI.

Minor bumps to the head, falls in the playground, or being involved in low-speed auto accidents usually cause minor TBIs. Remember that it is important that you do not neglect the incident and must see a doctor to ensure that everything is fine.

Moderate TBIs result from closed head injuries where there is no open wound or actual penetration of the brain.

Concussion, loss of consciousness, and dizziness are experienced by the person. The impact on the brain is serious, prolonged, and in some cases even permanent.

In moderate TBIs, loss of consciousness may last between a few minutes to a few hours. Physical and cognitive impairments occur and are sometimes long-lasting or even permanent. Behavioral changes are also commonly found in patients with moderate TBI.

In severe TBI, there is extensive damage to brain tissues and cells. Brain cells or neurons are stretched and torn, altering pathways of neurotransmitters forever.

Brain injuries are different from an injury to limbs or any other organ in the body. In the latter cases, injury is limited to the affected organ and does not play havoc with the rest of the bodily functions or systems. In most cases, the affected body parts heal completely and you are back to normal. But, in the case of brain injury, the effects are felt on physical, cognitive, and behavioral levels.

Our brains define our personalities and thought processes. Even a minor injury to the brain cells can alter a personality beyond recognition, and that is the problem that most survivors of TBIs battle with on a daily basis.

Characteristics of severe TBI include memory loss for more than 24 hours post-accident, and loss of consciousness for more than six hours after the trauma.

Closed head injuries happen when there is rapid acceleration and deceleration, as in car accidents. The brain rocks back and forth, and is launched into a collision course with the hard skull casing due to violent jolts to the head. The billions of neuronal axons are twisted or stretched, or torn. Closed head injuries often result in extensive damage to brain cells. Arteries and veins running through the brain snap, leading to bleeding and clot formation. Other bodily fluids also may leak into the area causing intracranial pressure to rise.

Depending on the type, location, severity, and impact of the injury, various parts of the brain may be damaged affecting the brain function of that particular area. That is the reason why injuries lead to coma, paralysis, speech and language problems, behavioral problems and emotional instability, and/or personality, thinking, and memory problems, depending on the part of brain that is affected.

Path to Recovery

The path to recovery is slow and arduous, but possible.

In the early stages of treatment, you will be provided with intensive rehabilitative care. After that, you may be able to resume your life without continuing care.

Re-learning what used to come naturally, and getting adjusted to relationships and loved ones all over again takes a lot of effort. You will have to come to terms with the dramatic changes that have happened to your family life, job, and social and community life.

It is important that you do not give up and persist with your efforts. Self-help groups and community initiatives are where you can meet people who are struggling with the same issues as you are. You can also meet people who have healed completely and understand how you can work toward progress.

New Orleans brain injury lawyer says that winning a fair brain injury claim will help ease the financial stress on your family. You can also consider claiming for damages that you suffered and consult a reputed lawyer to learn your options.

Staying positive is key because your brain needs all the encouragement that it can get to make a recovery.

TBI can change your life drastically and dramatically. But, remember that there are several cases where victims with very severe TBI have recovered fully. It is hard to predict recovery, and it varies with each individual and type of injury. Do not give up hope, embrace the changes that have come into your life, and appreciate the opportunity that you have to enjoy life again.

 

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Article last time updated on 25.10.2016.

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