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What Are the Long-Term Effects of a TBI?

a worried man holding his head in his hands

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most severe health complications one can sustain, primarily because it involves a vital part of the human body.

TBIs are considered invisible disabilities because those living with it do not outwardly appear to have a problem. Additionally, many who have sustained a mild TBI go untreated because of a lack of understanding of the injury.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A TBI can result from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head with the severity ranging from mild to severe.

A common misconception is that TBIs only occur when a person sustains a direct blow to the head, but it can also happen when the brain experiences sudden acceleration or deceleration, such as whiplash. When this takes place, the soft tissue of the brain is damaged when it hits the skull, but the person may not lose consciousness.

Because of this, compounded with a lack of awareness of TBI symptoms, many people misdiagnose or mistreat their injury. This has the potential to complicate the situation further, which is why it’s crucial to obtain medical attention whether a TBI is mild or severe.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can happen in any accident where the head experiences blunt force trauma, including the following:

  • Slip and fall accidents

  • Car and truck accidents

  • Pedestrian accidents

  • Sports accidents

  • Violence or assaults

  • Construction or worksite accidents

Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

A TBI is classified as mild if the loss of consciousness and/or disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. Mild TBIs are frequently called concussions. Despite being called “mild,” the effects can be damaging to the injured person.

Common Symptoms of Mild TBIs:

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Memory loss

  • Poor attention/concentration

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Dizziness/loss of balance

  • Nausea

  • Mood changes

These injuries are commonly overlooked because the symptoms do not always present themselves at the time of the injury or because the person may appear normal.

Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

Moderate to severe TBIs often have long-term effects that have been described as being similar to the effects of a chronic disease. A TBI is classified as severe if the injury results in a loss of consciousness that lasts for several hours.

Common Symptoms of Severe TBIs:

  • Headaches that worsen or won’t go away

  • Repeated vomiting or nausea

  • Slurred speech

  • Seizures

  • An inability to wake up from sleep

  • Loss of coordination

Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Fortunately, most people who suffer mild concussions are able to recover within a few weeks by following the directions of their health care provider. On the other hand, people who sustain severe TBIs may develop personality changes, suffer cognitive difficulties, or experience issues with their memory.

Long-term consequences of a TBI can include the following:

  • Inability to return to work

  • Inability to live independently

  • Extensive rehabilitative treatment

  • Medical costs

Reducing the Risks of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The long-term impact of a TBI can have a profound impact on one’s life, and it can negatively impact relationships with loved ones. While a TBI can be caused by unpredictable accidents, there are measures you can take to reduce your chances of sustaining such an injury, including the following:

  • Always wear your seat belt. These safety devices can reduce serious injuries and deaths from crashes by 50%.

  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Never drive while distracted.

  • Wear protective equipment, such as a helmet, when participating in sports and recreational activities.

  • Prevent slip and fall accidents at home by using non-slip mats in the bathroom, installing handrails, and keeping the floors clear of clutter.

Received a TBI in an Accident? Contact Us Today

While we know that money cannot undo your accident or bring back your health, it can hold negligent parties accountable for their actions and give you the compensation you need to avoid falling into a financial hole.

If you or someone you love has received a TBI in an accident, contact our St. Louis firm today at (800) 391-4318 to speak with our team.

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