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Traumatic Brain Injury - Continuing Problems

Robert Karns

Studies show that a significant percentage of people that suffer traumatic brain injuries have continuing problems. A study regarding mild traumatic brain injury indicates that people that suffer mild traumatic brain injuries can have adverse long term psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial morbidities.

Traumatic brain injury survivors that have continuing problems are classified as having persistent post-concussive symptoms.

These continuing problems can consist of all or some of the following:

  • Physical - Affecting how the body works
  • Cognitive - Affecting how the person thinks, learns and remembers
  • Emotional - Affecting how the person feels
  • Behavioral - Affecting how a person acts

Continuing cognitive problems after traumatic brain injury can consist of problems with all or some of the following:

  • Attention and concentration
  • Processing and understanding
  • Memory
  • Communication
  • Planning, organizing and assembling
  • Reasoning, problem solving, decision making and judgment
  • Controlling impulses and desires and being patient

Continuing emotional problems after traumatic brain injury can occur as the brain injury can change the way people feel or express emotions. These continuing problems can consist of the following:

  • Emotional Lability - Mood swings, emotional outbursts, lack of control, lack of patience.
  • Anxiety - The feeling of fear or nervousness, feeling anxious without knowing why, worry and panic attacks.
  • Depression - Caused by the struggle to adjust to disability or an inability to work and interruption in one's everyday activities, can also be caused by biochemical and physical changes in the brain caused by the traumatic brain injury.
  • Temper Outbursts and Irritability - A traumatic brain injury can cause frequent irritability, causing the victim to fly off the handle easily having temper outbursts.

Continuing problems with social communication - The traumatic brain injury victim can experience the following on a continuing basis:

  • Problems with starting and ending conversations
  • Problems with staying on topic
  • Having inhibiting inappropriate communication behaviors
  • Interrupting people and not participating in turn taking
  • Showing feelings with facial expressions
  • Speaking at an inappropriate rate

Traumatic brain injury victims that suffer continuing problems should discuss these problems with the therapist they are seeing and especially with the neuropsychologist that has tested them in order to have the appropriate referrals made that will include treatment and medication.

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