A traumatic brain injury (TBI) 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.
Other Names for Mild TBI:
- Minor head trauma
- Minor TBI
- Minor brain injury
- Minor head injury
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is:
Often missed at time of initial injury 15% of people with mild TBI have symptoms that last one year or more. Defined as the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation or loss of memory) or loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes. Post injury symptoms are often referred to as post concussive syndrome.
Common Symptoms of Mild TBI:
- Visual disturbances
- Memory loss
- Poor attention/concentration
- Sleep disturbances
- Dizziness/loss of balance
- Irritability-emotional disturbances
- Feelings of depression
Other Symptoms Associated with Mild TBI:
- Loss of smell
- Sensitivity to light and sounds
- Mood changes
- Getting lost or confused
- Slowness in thinking
These symptoms may not be present or noticed at the time of injury. They may be delayed days or weeks before they appear. The symptoms are often subtle and are often missed by the injured person, family and doctors.
The person looks normal and often moves normal in spite of not feeling or thinking normal. This makes the diagnosis easy to miss. Family and friends often notice changes in behavior before the injured person realizes there is a problem. Frustration at work or when performing household tasks may bring the person to seek medical care.