The Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

The Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain InjuryA traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a severe form of brain trauma that can result from a sudden blow to the head or jolt to the body that causes the brain to rapidly move back and forth in the skull. A TBI can have a variety of both immediate and long-term effects, depending on the severity of the injury and the part of the brain that’s affected.

Some people with TBI do make a full recovery, but others experience long-term physical, emotional, and cognitive problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

Immediate effects of traumatic brain injury

Before describing the long-term effects of TBI, it’s important to understand the immediate effects of a traumatic brain injury. The primary symptoms of a TBI can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Severe TBIs can cause loss of consciousness, coma, or even death. Long-term effects will vary depending on the severity of the injury, the part of the brain affected, and the age and overall health of the individual. However, there are some common issues and complications patients should look out for.

Potentially permanent, physical effects of TBI

The physical effects of traumatic brain injury can include:

  • Chronic pain. Those who have experienced TBI may go on to suffer chronic pain, like headaches, neck pain, and back pain. These symptoms can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, like work and even just getting around.
  • Sensory impairment. TBI can also cause difficulties with hearing, vision, and touch, causing sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Motor impairment. Severe TBI can affect a person’s motor skills, causing difficulties with balance, coordination, and movement. Some patients may require assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers.
  • Fatigue. Those with TBI can also experience chronic fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate, remember things, and perform daily tasks and work.
  • Seizures. Severe TBI can also cause seizures, another long-term effect of the injury.

Emotional and behavioral changes can be caused by TBI

Traumatic brain injury doesn’t just cause physical effects. It also causes significant emotional and behavioral issues, including:

  • Depression. Many patients with TBI may go through feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. This is a common side effect of serious brain injuries.
  • Anxiety. Feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear are other long-term effect of TBI which can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks like work or driving.
  • Mood swings. Brain injuries can also cause mood swings like anger, irritability, and aggression. TBI can cause an individual to have trouble controlling their emotions, which can put a strain on their relationships.
  • Social isolation. These emotional and behavioral issues can cause a person to experience social isolation and a loss of connection with friends and family.

How TBI affects cognition and learning

The long-term cognitive effects of traumatic brain injury can affect an individual’s ability to think, remember, and process information, including:

  • Memory loss. TBI causes both long-term and short-term memory loss, making it hard to remember things that happened in the past and recently. This can make it difficult to work or even hold conversations.
  • Attention and concentration. TBI can make it hard for a person to pay attention and concentrate, making it difficult to perform tasks requiring mental focus.
  • Executive functioning. Brain injuries also affect the ability to plan, organize, and make decisions, making it hard to complete tasks.
  • Language and communication. Traumatic brain injury can affect the language and communication parts of the brain, affecting the ability to read, write, and speak. This can make it difficult to understand or express thoughts and ideas.
  • Learning difficulties. TBI can affect a person’s ability to learn new skills and information.
  • Impaired perception. Individuals with TBI may also experience difficulties judging distances or perceiving depth.

The effect of TBI on daily life

A traumatic brain injury doesn’t just “go away.” It can have a substantial effect on a person’s day-to-day life. Aside from preventing them from being able to work, they may have difficulty performing everyday tasks, from dressing themselves to cooking to driving. Individuals with severe traumatic brain injuries often face financial difficulties due to ongoing and continuous medical treatment.

They may also have difficulties forming and keeping social relationships, as emotional or behavioral issues can cause them to have trouble communicating or understanding social cues. Family members and caregivers can also experience stress and burnout when supporting a loved one with TBI. These challenges may be exacerbated if the victim is young, as the injury can compound over time. Damage to a developing brain may result in more severe consequences.

Resources for TBI victims and caregivers in North Dakota

There is currently no cure for TBI. However, there are treatment and support options available to help individuals manage long-term issues and complications. These can include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and counseling. There are also resources available for patient, caregivers, and families. Some of these include:

Many of these organizations have offices or hold meetings right here in Minot, but help is available for folks all over North Dakota.

At Larson Law Firm, P.C., we understand the long-term challenges of traumatic brain injuries. Severe TBIs are injuries that will likely last for the rest of your life. If your TBI was the result of another person’s negligence, we want to hear from you. Schedule a free consultation with a Minot TBI lawyer today by calling our offices or filling out our contact form. We maintain offices in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo.