When someone you hold dear suffers a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, the consequences are anything but temporary. Sure, the chain of events that caused their cranial injury may have unfolded in the blink of an eye. Your loved one, however, faces a lifetime of potential suffering.
Here’s what you should know TBIs – and how to help your loved one cope.
What Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
According to the Mayo Clinic, traumatic brain injuries, often called TBIs, are characterized by brain abnormalities caused by external forces. For instance, someone who gets into a car accident and has their head struck or impacted with something during the violent collision might harm the soft brain matter inside their skulls through blunt force, even if their skull remains intact.
These closed-head injuries/traumas contrast with penetrating injuries where objects like bullets or fractured segments of the skull enter the brain and cause direct tissue damage. Due to the complexity and interconnected nature of the human cranium and nervous system, both varieties of TBI can have a range of severe outcomes and cause permanent cognitive impairments.
What are the long-term ramifications of TBIs?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TBIs play a role in almost a third of all injury-related fatalities. In addition to potentially being deadly, these wounds may result in:
- Emotional and psychological issues, such as lasting depression or unexpected personality changes
- Cognitive impairments, like difficulty thinking, focusing or recalling known facts
- Physical problems including compromised mobility, disorientation, fatigue, seizures and nausea
- Loss of critical senses such as vision or hearing
Loss of consciousness is often thought to be a requisite for proving brain injuries. However, medical studies don’t support this requirement, as brain damage can still happen when the victim remains conscious. What’s more, many brain injury victims don’t recall a brief loss of consciousness.
Helping TBI sufferers lead rewarding lives
Individuals who sustain TBIs can exhibit a broad range of symptoms. Those with cognitive issues may not even understand why they’re having trouble. Because these injuries are most prevalent among populations above the age of 75, it may also be difficult for you to distinguish someone’s TBI complications from other existing medical ailments. Although these factors make for challenging circumstances, it’s important that you keep pushing forward.
Proactive diagnosis and treatment go hand-in-hand with caring for those who live with TBIs. Treatments like surgery and rehabilitation are typically more effective when you begin early, and rapid diagnosis is the only way to control symptoms before they worsen. These remedies cost money, however. Caregivers may find it beneficial to facilitate the healing process by discussing their needs and potential compensation options with a trusted attorney.