National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disturbance in the brain’s normal function caused by a physical force, hit blow, jolt, etc to the head. This also includes rapid acceleration or deceleration (whiplash) which results in the brain hitting against the skull forcefully.

This can result in an impairment of cognitive or physical faculties as well as a loss of consciousness. The impairments and recovery time will vary depending on the severity of the force.

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Different types of TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury is diagnosed based on different criteria and is diagnosed on a spectrum of mild, moderate, to severe.

Mild injuries are diagnosed when there is a loss of consciousness of thirty minutes or less. Mild traumatic brain injuries are often called concussions and both names are commonly used interchangeably.

Moderate traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed if the loss of consciousness is more than thirty minutes, but less than twenty-four hours. Persons who have had a moderate TBI often have a hard time remembering or describing events that happened before or after the incident. They also commonly exprience an altered state of consciousness.

Severe traumatic brain injury is defined as the loss of consciousness for twenty-four hours or more. They will also have the same symptoms and side effects as those who have moderate TBI.

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tbi symptoms and recovery time

The CEMM Library has a whole list of side effects caused by the varying degrees of TBI. Some of those include:

PHYSICAL EFFECTS:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of stamina (easily fatigued)
  • Appetite changes
  • Chronic pain

COGNITIVE EFFECTS

  • Difficulty with attention, focus, or concentration
  • Distractibility
  • Memory problems
  • Slow speed of processing
  • Confusion
  • Perseveration, which is the abnormal persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act
  • Impulsiveness

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE EFFECTS

  • Slurred speech
  • Speaking very fast or very slow
  • Problems with reading comprehension

EFFECTS ON HEARING

  • Decrease or loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears
  • Increased sensitivity or intolerance to sounds

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL EFFECTS

  • Dependent behaviors
  • Fluctuating emotions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Denial or lack of awareness

Visit CEMM Library for their comprehensive list of symptoms one

Treatmen options

Mild TBI requires rest and not overstraining the brain by thinking too hard or working on the computer for too long. Mild TBI usually is healed by a couple of days to a couple of months.

Moderate to severe TBI tends to require more treatment outside of the initial treatment for stabilization. Additional types of therapy that might be needed include occupational, speech, physical, psychological, cognitive, and vocational. The types of therapies needed will be dependant on the individual, their level of trauma, and the types of symptoms present. Moderate to severe TBI takes can take as little as months or years for recovery, but the effects can also be permanent.


Neurofeedback

Neurodevelopment Center Inc stated:

“In 20 neurofeedback sessions, with feedback every half second, you get 72,000 chances to learn. That’s a lot of repetition and practice. Brain science has shown that repetitive exercise of brain networks reshapes the brain. Neurofeedback allows you to reshape networks in your brain after a traumatic brain injury. “

Neurofeedback helps train the brain to self-regulate its brain waves which in turn helps the client learn to manage their emotions, thoughts, improve cognitive functioning, and improve physical performance. Contact a provider near you for an in-depth consultation to see if neurofeedback is a good fit for you.

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