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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a medical condition that can affect one’s physical, neurological, and/ or emotional functioning. The American Association of Neurological Surgery explains that TBI “is a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” The specific symptoms that manifest as a result of a TBI will vary significantly, as they depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, as well as the area of the brain that was injured. There are a variety of diagnostic tools used when diagnosing a TBI, including a neurological exam that evaluates one’s coordination, thinking, motor function, sensory function, eye movement, and reflexes, imaging tests such as computerize tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as well as the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCD).

Each diagnostic tool serves a distinct purpose and will, respectively, contribute to the evaluating medical professional’s ability in arriving at the most pointed and accurate diagnosis. 


MRI is an acronym for magnetic resonance imaging. According to the Mayo Clinic, “an MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of the brain.” Early MRIs were only able to detect abnormal brain activity and substantial brain tissue damage. Current MRI technology is able to provide scans that visualize the effects of mild TBIs. Health Images explains, “Newer, specialized types of traumatic brain injury images can now look at and evaluate brain structure damage or measure brain function to detect changes in the structure and function of the brain due to concussions and TBI.” Due to the updated technology, most individuals that are evaluated for a TBI, regardless of its severity, are likely to have an MRI. Imagining centers rely on MRI brain damage scans to see where damage has occurred in the brain and obtain a clearer, internal picture of the TBI. In order to obtain the most effective treatment, it is essential for an individual to be thoroughly evaluated and for a TBI to be properly classified as mild or moderate to severe. 

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If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

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