Traumatic Brain Injury After An Accident
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and suffered a head injury, you are well aware of the devastating impact such an injury can cause. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant event that can result in dramatic changes in a person’s behavior, thinking process, and emotions.
Most often after minor car accident and work injuries, our office sees clients with mild TBI or post-concussion syndrome. However, more serious accidents can result in more significant brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can frequently result in a multitude of disorders over the long-term, including personality and intellectual changes, delirium, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, as well as aggressive disorders. Additionally, TBIs can cause sexual dysfunction and be the catalyst which causes alcohol and drug disorders. Traumatic brain injuries affect patients differently depending on their age and can also negatively impact the family system.
Mild Brain Injury and Post-Concussive Syndrome
The severity of a brain injury is usually determined initially through the use of the Glasgow Coma Score and then measured by how long a patient was unconscious after the injury and/or the length of post-traumatic amnesia. While there is no universally accepted definition of mild brain injury, injuries in which the loss of consciousness was less than 20 minutes and for which the Glascow Coma Scores are 13 or greater are generally considered to be mild brain injuries.
Despite its name though, patients with a so called mild brain injury still experience difficulties with their thinking processes as well as behavioral issues. Other symptoms that make up post-concussive syndrome can include headaches, visual problems, and other symptomatic manifestations. Often, sufferers of mild brain injuries find that they are slow processing information and remembering certain facts and details. However, mild TBI patients generally see improvement with processing and memory within one to three months following the injury.
Symptoms in the “other” category for mild head injuries may also include decreased memory, attention and concentration as well as headache, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, tinnitus, and sensitivity to noise or light. Also noted among some TBI patients are depression, irritability, and anxiety.
Personality changes after TBI
When there is trauma to the frontal lobes of the brain, there can be devastating consequences for both the patient and the patient’s family. Sometimes, this trauma can be seen and diagnosed on a radiology study and sometimes it can’t be seen.
Impairment to Judgment
When the frontal lobes suffer damage, the injured person or his family may notice an impairment of judgment. This is seen most often when the patient tries to assess a situation based on recalling information from past situations. Many times, the patient will notice that he or she is not able to recall long-term information.
Sense of Self
Sometimes, a person with a TBI can experience an impaired sense of self or individuality. Societal pressures to conform to a certain set of behaviors cause problems for patients suffering from an impaired sense of self as these impairments put additional emotional and behavior pressures on the patient.
Childish behavior which occurs after a Traumatic Brain Injury results from a combination of changes including language/speaking deficits, impairments in the thinking process, and a focus on oneself. We generally do not expect the same conversational or behavioral response from a 6-year-old as we do from a 30-year-old. However, in individuals with TBI, a childlike style of behavior frequently emerges after the injury. Frequently, the injured person may struggle to delay gratification or to be aware of others. In these instances, the patient with the traumatic brain injury may have difficulty taking turns, sharing, not interrupting, and inviting expansion on a conversation topic.
Additionally, patients with a traumatic brain injury may also experience anxiety-related to fear of losing love or approval; fear of losing control of milestones; fear of loss or injury to body parts; fears of guilt or shame; separation anxiety; and, stranger anxiety.
Anxiety Disorders Caused By Traumatic Brain Injury
Many times, patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury experience anxiety which can consist of intense and persistent tension, worry, and fearfulness. Such patients also tend to experience pain and agitation on a more frequent basis. Phobias are often seen in TBI patients as well with fears of being in a closed place, fears of falling, or social phobias ranking high on the list of typical phobias. Social phobias in people with TBIs often stem from negative changes in self-image and fears that other people will find them stupid or unattractive. Head injury patients often experience difficulty at parties or other gatherings where more than one person is likely to be speaking at the same time. The patient is often fearful that his problems with collecting his thoughts might be exposed and he would be embarrassed.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is often difficult to diagnose since the patients tend to avoid the things which cause them the most stress. PTSD can cause confusion and impaired ability to deal with one’s environment. Such difficulties make it even more difficult to deal with the strange anxiety and perceptions that are associated with PTSD.
Brain injuries usually occur in association with injuries to other parts of the body. Because of this, patients can experience a fear of death or injury at the time of an accident which is so severe that it causes PTSD, even without a brain injury.
By itself, PTSD can cause impaired concentration, selective memory deficits, irritability, and other physiological changes that may interact with the effects of TBI.
Talk with a Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered significant traumatic brain injuries as a result of an accident in Virginia, the Ritchie Law Firm is here to help. The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.
Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.
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