What causes traumatic brain injuries?
As we discussed in a previous blog post, What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur from either a penetrating head injury (from objects such as bullets or shrapnel piercing the brain) or a closed head injury (from a “bump, blow, or jolt” to the head in a situation such as a car accident or fall). While any injuries to the brain can affect a person’s life, traumatic brain injuries, like the name suggests, can be extremely distressing.
What are the three different types of a traumatic brain injury?
Depending upon the severity of the symptoms and how long the person was unconscious after the injury, there are three types of traumatic brain injuries: mild, moderate, and severe. Although, most injuries are typically classified as mild because they are not life-threatening, even mild or moderate injuries can have long-lasting, serious effects.
Mild traumatic brain injury – or what is commonly called a concussion – causes you to lose consciousness for less than 30 minutes. Although symptoms may not develop until days or weeks after the injury (and can last for months), they generally appear immediately after. Any symptoms, such as a headache or memory loss, are usually gone in either hours, days, or weeks.
Moderate traumatic brain injurycauses you to lose consciousness for longer than 30 minutes, but less than 24 hours, and produces many of the same symptoms as mild TBIs, but are more serious and last much longer.
Severe traumatic brain injury causes you to lose consciousness for over 24 hours and generally require you to undergo hospitalization and rehabilitation. The symptoms are typically – as you might expect – extremely severe, lasting sometimes for the rest of your life or until relief can be attained from treatments such as neurofeedback, biofeedback, and cognitive training.
How can a traumatic brain injury affect your life?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3.2 million Americans are living with a permanent disability that resulted from a traumatic brain injury. Many of those Americans are veterans who suffered injuries during combat in the Iraq-Afghanistan war and – along with the sometimes difficult adjustments back to civilian life – have to manage the uncomfortable symptoms of their injuries.
In addition to the myriad physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms that occur after a TBI, the injury could also affect your mental health, causing you to develop depression, anxiety, and other illnesses. People who are affected by these types of injuries are also prone to drinking more alcohol, using illegal drugs, smoking more often, or habitually taking prescription or over-the-counter medication.
There is also an overwhelming sense of not “feeling like yourself,” generally because the injured area (the brain) is the source off all emotions, cognitive skills, and behaviors. Depending on which part of the brain was injured, there could be permanent changes to your personality, just like in the case of Phineas Gage, a railroad construction worker whose frontal lobe was pierced by an iron rod in the 1800s.
For more information about traumatic brain injuries, or to ask us about traumatic brain injury treatment through neurofeedback, cognitive training, and biofeedback, please call us at (410) 531-5087.