October 26, 2014

What are the Effects of TBI?

Most people are unaware of the scope of TBI or its overwhelming nature. TBI is a common injury and may be missed initially when the medical team is focused on saving the individual’s life. Before medical knowledge and technology advanced to control breathing with respirators and decrease intracranial pressure, which is the pressure in the fluid surrounding the brain, the death rate from traumatic brain injuries was very high. Although the medical technology has advanced significantly, the effects of TBI are significant.

TBI is classified into two categories: mild and severe.

A brain injury can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked.  Even though this type of TBI is called “mild”, the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating.  Follow this link for more information on Mild TBI.

Severe brain injury is associated with loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and memory loss after the injury or penetrating skull injury longer than 24 hours. The deficits range from impairment of higher level cognitive functions to comatose states. Survivors may have limited function of arms or legs, abnormal speech or language, loss of thinking ability or emotional problems. The range of injuries and degree of recovery is very variable and varies on an individual basis. Follow this link for more information on Severe TBI.

The effects of TBI can be profound. Individuals with severe injuries can be left in long-term unresponsive states. For many people with severe TBI, long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence.  Even with mild TBI, the consequences to a person’s life can be dramatic. Change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social and community interaction.