The Long-Term Impact of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Posted on

There are many life-altering consequences that can result from a serious car crash, including traumatic brain injury (TBI). The devastating results of a TBI can have lasting effects for the rest of your life and lead to other neurological diseases as time goes on.

No one expects to get into a major crash and experience a TBI. However, knowing what a TBI is and how to prevent it goes a long way in minimizing your risk of experiencing the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury. Our experienced Riverside personal injury lawyers can help!

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury

A TBI most often results from a dramatic blow to the head or body, such as the head crashing through the windshield during a car accident or an object passing through brain tissue. TBIs can be mild, affecting the brain temporarily and usually treated with rest and close monitoring by a doctor, or much more serious.

A severe TBI results from deeper physical damage to the brain, causes more serious symptoms, and needs extensive treatment. These TBIs can impact the victims for years after the injury occurs.

Symptoms of TBI

TBI symptoms vary with the severity of the injury. They usually present a distinct set of physical and sensory symptoms that a medical professional will be able to recognize and determine the best course of action for.

Severe TBIs come with more extreme symptoms which, if not treated immediately, can result in debilitating effects or even death. Some symptoms include:

  • Persistent headache
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Profound confusion
  • Slurred speech

Those with severe TBIs can lose consciousness from a few minutes to hours. Doctors classify this into four different levels of consciousness. One is a minimally conscious state where the victim still displays some level of self-awareness. In a vegetative state, a person is unconscious and unaware of their surroundings but can have periods of responsiveness, while someone in a coma is completely unaware and unable to respond. Finally, brain death is the result of no measurable brain functionality after an extended period.

TBIs can also come with effects such as swelling, bleeding, or tears in the brain tissue. These can impact the entire brain or just a small section of it.

The Long-Term Impact of TBIs

TBIs are a complex brain disorder that researchers are still trying to learn more about. However, it is agreed that depending on its severity, the long-term effects of a TBI can have lasting consequences for the rest of your life.

Some of these effects include ongoing symptoms like foggy thinking, trouble sleeping, personality changes, memory loss, and anxiety and depression. It can also lead to long-term neurodegenerative outcomes such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Studies have shined light on other impacts that deal directly with the brain such as apoptosis, which leads to the death of brain cells and is shown to be a progressive issue associated with TBI. Another major problem is post-traumatic epilepsy, which occurs in 25% of patients with severe TBI. Inflammation within the brain on an ongoing or sporadic basis has been shown to lead to changes within the brain and cause other long-term neuropathic disorders.

Changes associated with TBI do not always have to appear immediately after the injury happens. It can take months, or even years, before they begin to significantly affect the quality of life of the person who experienced a TBI.

With the necessary treatment, a person can live with a TBI and even show improvement to some degree, but there are factors that influence the extent to which someone can recover such as genes and age. Typically, a younger person will have more success in recovering from a TBI, as older people are more likely to have additional medical issues or take other medications that can complicate treatment.

How To Treat TBIs

All TBIs should be addressed as early as possible by a medical professional who will do certain tests and brain scans to diagnose a TBI and its severity. Those with a mild case may not need much more than rest, over-the-counter medication, and follow up with a doctor. However, anything worse will need more serious intervention.

TBIs often need emergency medical care and immediate treatment may include CT scans and MRIs to look more closely at the injury or even surgery to deal with skull fractures or bleeding.

People with significant TBIs will require rehabilitative care and may need to relearn basic skills like walking or talking. Ongoing care well after the injury is likely.

How You Can Prevent TBI

No one can predict when a TBI may occur, but it is possible to take steps in your everyday life to lessen the possibility of one.

Basic actions such as wearing a seatbelt when driving or in a motor vehicle or wearing helmets when biking, skateboarding, or participating in similar activities that are susceptible to head injury. Never, ever drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Get friends and family involved too in making sure they are taking steps to protect themselves. If you’ve been impacted by a TBI, contact The JLF Firm to find out more about your options.

Get in touch with us today to get started with your FREE case review. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.