Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can mean a long time in recovery and substantial disability for the victims of many types of serious accidents. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize the potential signs of TBI, even in the aftermath of a serious accident. Knowing what signs to look for can help you manage the aftermath of a serious accident and help you get the care you need.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Immediately after an accident that results in traumatic brain injury, especially serious traumatic brain injury, you may notice some signs and symptoms that you should not ignore. Most obviously, if you lost consciousness, even temporarily, you should see a doctor to rule out traumatic brain injury and make sure you do not have lasting symptoms and challenges. In addition, you should consult a doctor if you have experienced any trauma to the head and noticed:
Persistent or Worsening Headache
In general, if you notice that you have a headache that seems to be getting worse or that will not go away, you should see a doctor to rule out serious injury. Traumatic brain injury can cause mild, moderate, or serious headaches, and the pain your head may increase with time.
Changes in Perception
Often, you will notice changes in your overall perception as a result of traumatic brain injury. You may struggle with ringing in your ears or tunnel vision, or notice that you have a bad taste in your mouth. You may also find yourself more sensitive than usual to changes in light or sound: your eyes responding slowly to changes or feeling extraordinarily sensitive to bright light, for example.
Clear Physical Challenges
Traumatic brain injury can lead to some obvious physical symptoms, including vomiting or nausea, vertigo, or dilation of one or both pupils. You may also notice clear fluid draining from your nose or ears, which could indicate a serious injury. Always have these symptoms evaluated by a doctor.
Long-Term Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury
Sometimes, you may leave the scene of an accident assuming that you’re fine. You may think that you got lucky and managed to escape serious injury. Symptoms, however, may crop up after the initial accident. In some cases, you may not notice the symptoms until days or even weeks after the initial accident.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns
After an injury, your body may try to heal itself by increasing the amount of time you spend asleep. You may find yourself more fatigued than usual, even struggling to stay awake long enough to participate in activities that you usually enjoy. Conversely, however, you may find yourself suffering from seemingly unexplained insomnia.
Traumatic brain injury can also make it very hard to wake a patient, to the point that the patient may seem unresponsive. If friends and family members struggle to wake someone who has suffered head trauma, it could indicate serious traumatic brain injury, and the victim should receive medical attention as soon as possible.
Most people think of the memory problems often associated with traumatic brain injury as long-term memory issues. However, traumatic brain injury can also result in serious short-term memory issues that can, for many victims, prove even more challenging. You may notice yourself struggling to remember what happened just a few minutes ago or what instructions you were given. You may have trouble keeping on track of staying focused enough to finish the task at hand, even tasks that you usually enjoy. If you notice changes in your overall memory after a blow to the head or other type of head trauma, including a car accident, you may need to consult your doctor about the possibility of traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury can cause significant issues with overall emotional regulation. Many victims with traumatic brain injury find that they fly off the handle more easily than usual or cry at the drop of a hat when they can usually maintain control. Victims may also suffer from mood swings: swift changes in emotional state often seemingly unrelated to the stimulus at hand. A doctor can help determine whether these emotional changes relate to traumatic brain injury from the accident.
Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
Children may have a harder time articulating their symptoms and telling you exactly how they feel. Any time a child suffers a serious blow to the head, evaluation by a doctor can help you establish whether the child may have a traumatic brain injury and, therefore, need treatment. You should also see a doctor if you note these changes.
Changes in Eating Patterns
If your child suddenly refuses to eat or does not seem to enjoy foods he usually enjoys, it could indicate a serious medical problem that needs attention.
Irritability or Personality Changes
Often, children with traumatic brain injury will show increased irritability: snapping at their parents and siblings more easily than usual or getting grumpier than anticipated. They may show changes in their usual personality: shifting away from their usually sunny disposition, for example, or feeling reluctant to engage in their usual activities. Children may also show clear signs of sadness or depression that could indicate a a serious injury.
As in adults, traumatic brain injury can cause children to either sleep more than usual or to show signs of insomnia. They may seem more drowsy than usual, including falling asleep during car rides or while watching TV.
Problems with Focus and Attention
Children who have suffered traumatic brain injury may show a shorter attention span than usual. You may notice that they seem to have a hard time paying attention to what they’re supposed to be doing, including playing games or engaging in other tasks they usually enjoy.
Any time you suspect traumatic brain injury, either in you or in a child, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If someone else’s negligence caused the traumatic brain injury, you may have the right to compensation. Contact Cambre & Associates, LLC today to learn more about your legal rights after traumatic brain injury.