Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs as a result of sudden damage to the brain. 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.” Sustaining a TBI could lead to a plethora of adverse physiological symptoms, including affecting an individual’s cognitive abilities, such as learning and thinking skills. When the brain suffers a moderate to severe trauma it is impossible for anyone, including medical professionals, to initially understand the entirety of the damages sustained, nor will the long-term effects be immediately apparent.
When an individual experiences a TBI, his or her brain is programed to immediately begin to repair the tissue and other internal damage sustained. Depending on the injury, there may be certain parts of the brain that cannot be repaired, which results in long-term symptoms. Research has found that people with moderate to severe TBIs experience physical problems that can last for years after the trauma. An article in the National Library of Medicine asserts that at least one-fifth of those with more severe injuries have reported difficulties with their physical health decades later. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has provided the following examples of potential long-term TBI symptoms:
- Sleep difficulties
- Headaches and/ or migraines
- Diminished time-management skills
- Visual difficulties
- Concentration difficulties
- Sensitivity to light and/ or noise
- Deficits in attention
- Reduced participation in activities
- Seizures, post-traumatic epilepsy
- Lost sense of taste and/ or smell
- Personality changes
It is important to note that every person is unique and experiences can vary tremendously. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “moderate to severe traumatic brain injury is a lifelong condition.” The CDC goes on to explain that nearly fifty percent of people with TBI will experience further decline in their daily lives. Actively attending to these lifelong issues through chronic disease management is essential for improving the quality of life for an individual living with a traumatic brain injury.
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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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