Traumatic Brain Injury

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is a very unpredictable disorder. It can cause a wide array of physical and psychological effects for the person who is affected. Many of the symptoms and signs appear immediately after the injury occurs. However, many of the signs and symptoms do not appear until days or weeks after the injury occurs.

Symptoms will also vary depending on the severity of the brain injury. The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury will vary due to the portion of the brain that’s damaged. For example, a mild brain injury may heal in a matter of days whereas a severe brain injury may never heal.

What are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury – Mild

  • Possible loss of consciousness, usually last between a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • There may not be loss of consciousness, but the patient may exhibit symptoms of of being dazed, confused, and possibly disoriented.
  • Headache or possible migraine may follow.
  • Possible nausea or vomiting.
  • Abnormal fatigue or drowsiness.
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep.
  • Sleeping more or deeper than usual.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or vertigo.
  • Possible blurred or double vision.
  • Possible change in ability to taste or smell.
  • Development of concentration or memory problems.

Traumatic Brain Injury – Moderate to Severe

A traumatic brain injury that falls into the category of moderate to severe can include all of the symptoms exhibited by someone with a mild injury. However, moderate to severe brain injuries are very difficult to treat and predict. There are many symptoms that can be exhibited by a patient with a head injury.

Symptoms include:

  • Complete loss of consciousness that can range from several minutes to hours after the initial injury.
  • Headache or migraine that will not go away.
  • Repeated, uncontrollable vomiting.
  • Seizures of any kind
  • Possible dilation of the pupils in one or both eyes
  • Clear fluids or blood draining from the ears or nose
  • Unable to wake up from sleeping.
  • Possible weakness or tingling in fingers, toes, or other extremities.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Extreme, noticeable confusion.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Coma or long lasting disorder involving consciousness.

In children head injuries can be extremely difficult to diagnose since they are unable to report many of the symptoms verbally.

Traumatic Brain Injury Causes

Traumatic brain injury can be caused when objects impact on sensitive brain tissue. The following are some of the causes of traumatic brain injury:

Car accidents can produce an impact that can break the skull. In some cases, the impact may not actually result in a breakage of the skull but the brain may still collide with internal bones of the skull, leading to brain trauma.

Traumatic brain injury can be caused when one is shot and sustains an injury caused by blood flowing into the brain. The damage can also occur directly at the site of the bullet wound on the skull.

Concussions resulting from falls can cause traumatic brain injuries, in particular when one falls from tall buildings or trees. The impact causes sudden memory loss and sometimes internal bleeding can occur, leading to a collision between the brain and the bones of the skull which causes traumatic brain injury.

How is a Traumatic Brain Injury Treated?

Most mild traumatic brain injuries do not require treatment. Many times, a person just needs to be monitored by a physician for a short period of time and then by a relative at home for several hours. The doctor may give them time off of work to heal and follow-up appointments may be required.

For moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, emergency care may be necessary to stabilize vital signs and ensure that all of the systems are working correctly. Medication may be necessary to reduce inflammation and careful monitoring may be necessary to ensure that there are no further complications.

For severe brain injuries, it may be necessary to surgically relieve pressure from the cranial cavity and the person may be required to have a lengthy hospital stay.

Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention

Traumatic brain injury is largely a result of impact, meaning that preventing it involves taking certain precautionary measures to avoid hazards. These include:

Keeping frequently used items in accessible places, which can prevent falling when searching for them. Additionally, it’s important to have proper lighting at home, in the workplace and in public areas, especially on pathways or in basements, which reduces the chances of any person falling. Giving good care to elderly members of the family is also vital; the caregiver can support them in taking steps without falling when they walk.

Some accidents from cars are preventable through proper training before driving, avoiding driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, paying attention to other drivers’ behavior, and also ensuring the vehicle is fitted with all regulatory requirements that meet safety standards. Traffic rules should also be observed at all times to protect one from accidents that could lead to traumatic brain injuries.

While recreation is an enjoyable aspect of life, taking precautions like wearing protective gear and equipment in the form of helmets and hats, whether racing, playing sport or riding bicycles and horses, can limit accidents and associated risks of trauma to the brain. Obtaining urgent medical attention following an incident is also equally important to prevent you from traumatic brain injury.

Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
September 10, 2017
Content Source: