Living with an undiagnosed brain injury is no joke. Even seemingly benign activities like running or biking can lead to catastrophic injury if you’re not aware of your surroundings — or if someone else isn’t, like a car driver in the midst of texting. Most traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are the result of accidents. And because accidents are unexpected by their very nature, it might benefit you to know what kind of signs and symptoms you might expect if your brain is injured.
Part of the reason TBI often goes undiagnosed until permanent damage takes hold is because the symptoms are so broad. That’s why it is important to seek medical treatment if you have any of the following symptoms following a blow to the head.
Brain injuries can result in:
Loss of consciousness, seizures, and general confusion. These are general symptoms of a concussion. You might experience drainage from your nose or ears. Victims of severe concussion might find it difficult to stay awake, and it might be difficult to wake them from what is essentially a comatose state. Others might notice that the victim’s eyes are dilated. Slurred speech, vertigo, and muscle fatigue are all common symptoms during a concussed state.
Impaired cognition and communication; depression. These are general symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Although this is technically a neurological disorder, some studies have lended credence to the idea that rare cases of CTE arise from repeated blows to the head. They are more than like sports-related.
Symptoms of CTE include an inability to think or communicate normally (sometimes CTE is mistaken for stroke) or a generally depressed state. Victims of CTE might seem perpetually confused, have issues with impulse control, or appear constantly irritable. Sports-related CTE can also result in memory loss, tremors, and early onset dementia.
Lethargy, vomiting, and balance issues. Any victim of TBI can experience the signs or symptoms, but if a child displays the aforementioned issues, then it is critical you get them the appropriate medical attention immediately. Children already have difficulty communicating how they feel with the adults tasked with watching over them, so you need to be especially attentive as a parent.
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite or a sudden change in dietary habits.
- Lack of attentiveness
- Lack of interest in activities once considered enjoyable
- Loss of balance
- Unexpected tastes
- Loss of smell
- Light sensitivity
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
Although you might not expect that someone is suffering from a head-related injury, it’s important to check. Ask questions whenever someone experiences the aforementioned symptoms — especially if that someone is you!