Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a blow to the head or jolt to the head or body. It can also be caused by an object going through the skull, like a bullet or even a shattered piece of the skull bone.
Mild TBI is commonly known as a concussion. Common concussion symptoms include a loss of consciousness, being in a confused or dazed state, and headaches. More physical issues may include: sleep issues (either sleeping too much or difficultly sleeping), nausea, or dizziness. People with concussions also experience problems with their senses, memory and concentration. All of these symptoms are also present in more severe brain trauma. However, for severe cases, additional physical symptoms may include seizures, long lasting nausea or vomiting, widened (dilated) pupils, not being able to wake up, or loss of coordination. Other mental symptoms include confusion, slurred speech, and unusual behavior. Babies with brain trauma may experience changes in eating/nursing and persistent crying.
If you recently experienced a fall, car/motorcycle accident, violence, or a sports injury, it is possible that you have a TBI. People are most likely to have a traumatic brain injury between the ages 0-4, 15-24, and 75+.
Doctors can diagnose brain trauma by testing a person’s ability to follow direction and their ability to control different body parts (Glasgow Coma Scale). Brain scans, such as CT scans or MRIs, may also be taken so that the doctor can see if the brain or skull is damaged. Mild brain trauma may be treated by resting and over-the-counter pain medication. However, more severe traumas may require prescribed medication, surgery, or rehabilitation. Individuals with brain trauma will not have all the listed symptoms. If you or your child has been diagnosed with TBI, talk to your doctor and specialists about current treatment options. Support groups are a good resource of information especially for those with more severe TBI.