Age Groups

Understanding Brain Injury In Adults

A traumatic brain injury, also known as a TBI, is caused by a violent jolt to the head. About 2.5 million individuals in the United States are treated in emergency departments for their head injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability in the United States. An estimated 5.3 million Americans live with a TBI and suffer from the disabilities that result from the injury.

The Mayo Clinic reports that young adults ages 15-24 are some of the most at risk for sustaining a TBI. This type of injury can be extremely debilitating and greatly affect a patient’s daily living.

Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury

To understand brain injury in adults, we have to remember that in some cases, the symptoms of a mild injury may go undiagnosed. This is why people are urged to seek medical care regardless if they feel they have only sustained a minor head injury. Hemorrhage and concussion symptoms may not immediately present themselves and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

The first step toward obtaining a proper TBI diagnosis is by seeing a health care provider as soon as possible. Your doctor will ask you some basic questions, such as:

  • How did the injury occur? Did the injury result from a fall, a motor vehicle accident, etc.?
  • What happened immediately after the accident? Was there a loss of consciousness? What was your level of consciousness?
  • What symptoms occurred soon after the injury?
  • Your past medical history and current medication. Especially any pre-injury neurological problems or any prior head injuries.
  • Are you experiencing pain in your chest, arms, legs, abdomen, and neck?

Your healthcare provider will also require you to undergo neuropsychological tests and brain function tests. They may also use other assessment tools to better determine the degree of your injury and a recovery plan.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury in Adults

Symptoms of TBI’s in adults may be physical, sensory, cognitive or mental. Some of the most common TBI symptoms are the following:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Speech problems
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of memory
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupil
  • Loss of 
  • And more

Some Groups Most Affected by TBIs

Although anyone may be susceptible to a TBI, some groups are more at risk of suffering brain damage due to some critical factors. These groups are more likely to suffer from TBI-related death or long-term health problems following the injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs are a common injury among survivors of intimate partner violence, this group is also more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD, a history of insomnia, and depression.

The CDC also shares that more than 400,000 American military service members were diagnosed with a TBI from 2000 to 2019. Despite military conflicts increasing the number of injured service members from 2005 to 2018, about 80% of traumatic brain injuries sustained by this group are due to motor vehicle crashes and not other risk factors such as gunshot wounds.

Have you or a loved one sustained a head injury? Do not hesitate to call us to obtain the help you need. We can help put you in touch with the right medical professionals who will guide you through various treatment options. If your injury was caused by a negligent party, we can also help you get the legal representation you need. Call us at (866) 576-0936.

Home Life Following a TBI

Home life following a mild or severe brain injury can be complex. Most often, head-injured patients will go through rehabilitation and some form of therapy in a medical center. Returning home after this acute care period is always a breath of fresh air for patients. However, returning to a place of comfort can increase risk factors for patients. Patients may find themselves returning to old routines and daily activities that are counterproductive to their recovery.

Depending on the severity of the injury and the manner in which it happened, TBI patients may experience memory loss, disinhibition, confusion, mood changes, and poor organizational and reasoning skills. These new changes and challenges can directly affect the mental status and perception of TBI patients, causing them to isolate themselves and experience depression.

Research suggests that exercise and continuous monitoring are some treatment strategies that can help improve brain function in people who have suffered a brain injury. This is because exercise can help promote neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to repair itself. The brain repairs itself by forming new synapses. These new connections form through performing tasks and cultivating skills.

Brain studies have shown that exercises such as aerobics have been proven to enhance hippocampal size, improve spatial memory, and improve the brain’s executive functioning.

Work and Life Balance

Traumatic brain injury in adults can be very debilitating, most especially after a severe head injury. This injury may significantly affect cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral functions. Brain injury patients may find difficulty in communication, lack coordination, and may have trouble controlling their impulses or moods.

These impairments may make it difficult for individual patients to return to work and function at the same level they were before the injury. Some patients may need to change career paths or find a way to accommodate their new challenges.

Upon deciding to return to work, it is good to have a conversation with your employer, manager, or human resources department and clarify your needs and discuss your options. You may also suggest returning to work with shorter hours or a lesser workload.

Some patients may wish to seek assistance through a Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Vocational rehabilitation or VR, is a process that helps people with disabilities to achieve their employment goals. Vocational rehabilitation agencies assist individuals with disabilities so they can obtain, maintain, or regain employment.

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIA) offers a nationwide network of state affiliates that provide direct support for TBI patients.

Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The rate of recovery for a traumatic brain injury may be anywhere from weeks to months and even years. Oftentimes the effects of a brain injury are long-lasting, and a patient may not make a complete recovery.

Sustaining a brain injury may increase the chances of the following:

  • Frequent headaches
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Blood clots
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of memory
  • Cognitive decline
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia

In recent years traumatic brain injuries have been treated as diseases instead of one-time events.

TBI Prevention in Adults

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were nearly 65,000 TBI-related deaths in 2020. However, these numbers do not reflect those TBIs treated in emergency departments, primary care, or those that go undiagnosed.

The report also shares that adults aged 75 years and older had the highest rates of TBI-related deaths and hospitalizations. Men were also more likely than females to be hospitalized and die from brain injuries.

Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls and motor vehicle accidents. Here are some tips you can practice for injury prevention:

  1. Always wear a seatbelt for every ride. Make sure your seatbelt is on properly.
  2. Never drive or ride with somebody who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  3. Use a properly fitted helmet when riding a motorcycle, bike, skateboard, etc.
  4. Use appropriate sports equipment to avoid a sports-related concussion.
  5. Install nonslip mats in bathrooms and ensure your house is free of tripping hazards.

Get the Help You Need

If you or a loved one have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you must not bear the brunt of this alone. At the Brain Injury Help Center, we can help you find the medical care you need to recover from your injuries.

If you sustained your injuries in an accident caused by another party, we can also put you in touch with experienced and passionate personal injury lawyers who can help you through the personal injury claims process.

Do not hesitate to contact us at (866) 576-0936. We are here to help!

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