Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can result in many types of disabilities. The most common involve thinking, the five senses, communication skills and mental health. Damage to these brain functions can affect every aspect of our lives, which is why TBI can be so devastating.
Almost half of TBI patients will develop Postconcussion Syndrome (PCS) within a few days of the injury. The syndrome involves various symptoms like headache, dizziness, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance, agitation, anxiety, sadness and apathy. Doctors treat PCS with medication, occupational therapy and psychotherapy to help patients learn to manage symptoms. Until symptoms subside, many patients will be unable to work or perform normal daily duties.
Cognitive problems can result from severe brain injury, or a succession of mild injuries .The patient may have trouble thinking clearly, remembering events and facts, or reasoning logically. Memory loss is the most common cognitive disability, usually showing an inability to remember certain past events and trouble remembering new things. Patients may be unable to organize schedules, solve problems, reason, or make appropriate judgments for six months or more following the injury.
Vision problems are the most common sensory impairments caused by TBI. Patients can see, but have trouble processing the signals from their eyes. They may not recognize the objects or people they see. Hand-eye coordination suffers as well. Such problems make it unsafe for TBI patients to drive a car, play sports or work complex machinery.
Disabilities can also happen with hearing, smell, taste, or touch. TBI patients may develop ringing or roaring in the ears. Taste and smell may be damaged so that the patient can only taste bitterness or smell a noxious odor. The skin may itch, tingle or hurt constantly. Unfortunately, doctors can do little for these constantly distracting symptoms.
Difficulties with language and communication are also common for TBI patients. They may have trouble understanding or producing spoken or written words. Some have less severe problems, such as trouble understanding body language or noticing other non-verbal cues.
TBI patients commonly experience disruptions in speech. Others may speak gibberish, not aware that the words coming out make little sense to the listener. In some cases, patients lose control of muscles that control speech, causing slurring. Such disabilities are frustrating problems for TBI patients because they can no longer communicate clearly with the people around them.
Emotional and behavioral problems commonly plague TBI patients. Patients may become depressed, apathetic, anxious, irritable, confused and frustrated. Sleep problems and mood swings are common. Patients may also become aggressive, violent and impulsive. While many TBI patients can improve over time through psychotherapy and medication, some will become permanently child-like, unable to develop and grow emotionally.
If someone you love suffers disability because of TBI, contact our office. Our experienced TBI lawyers will provide a free consultation of your case and help you decide if you should file a lawsuit against the responsible person.