Our Chicago brain injury lawyers continue this week’s discussion of traumatic brain injury (TBI), in honor of Brain Injury Awareness Month, with a discussion of the symptoms and effects of TBI.
As discussed previously, traumatic brain injuries are caused by a blunt trauma to the head — often a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, explosions or other method involving a substantial amount of force directly to the head. Where a TBI is suspected to have been caused by the carelessness or recklessness of another, it is important to contact a top-rated Chicago brain injury lawyer to discuss your case and ensure your rights are protected.
The severity of a traumatic brain injury can range from “mild,” with a brief change in consciousness or mental status, to “severe,” with an extended period of unconsciousness and amnesia. TBI can result in both short-term and long-term problems with a person’s independent functioning.
Different areas of the brain impact different physical and cognitive functions. Therefore, the location of the traumatic brain injury to the brain will largely determine the nature and extent of physical and cognitive deficiencies as a result of the TBI. See the chart above for the different Functions of the Brain impacted by TBI.
Symptoms can manifest in a variety of physical, cognitive and behavioral symptoms, including changes affecting thinking, language, learning, emotions, behavior and/or sensation. Additionally, a TBI can result in far-reaching social and developmental consequences. It is important to note that even a so-called “mild” TBI can result in long-term problems, with an estimated 15% of individuals diagnosed with mild TBI suffering severely debilitating symptoms long after injury.
Especially with children, whose brains are still developing, even mild TBI must be addressed immediately by the appropriate medical professionals — including neurologists, neuroradiologists and possibly neurosurgeons — to minimize permanent consequences of the brain damage. Our Chicago child brain injury lawyers understand the complexities involved in TBI cases involving children, as well as the magnitude of our responsibility involved in protecting their rights through adulthood.
Physical symptoms of traumatic brain injury are both neurological and non-neurological. Typical physical symptoms can include chronic headaches or neck pain, persistent exhaustion, mood changes, sleeplessness or changed sleep patterns, light-headedness, dizziness, loss of balance, impaired motor and autonomic function, nausea, increased sensitivity to light or sounds, blurred vision, sensory loss, and ringing in the ears. Some long-term conditions include various movement disorders, seizures, persistent headaches, visual problems and sleep disorders. TBIs have been directly linked to epilepsy and increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age.
Typical cognitive symptoms can include memory loss or difficulty remembering, inability to concentrate, difficulty in making decisions, slowed thinking, speaking or reading, confusion, inability to focus, and impaired visual perception. Additionally, TBI can impact problem-solving, abstract reasoning, insight, judgment, planning, and organization. These symptoms can change in severity and presentation over time, and often go unrecognized.
Typical behavioral symptoms can include verbal and physical aggression, agitation, decreased responsive ability, shallow self-awareness, altered sexual functioning, increased impulsivity, reduced social inhibition, mood disorders, personality changes, lack of emotional control, depression and anxiety.
The social consequences associated with TBI and its accompanying symptoms can be extremely serious, and include increased risk of suicide, divorce, chronic unemployment, economic difficulty and substance abuse. Problems often do not manifest until after the individual attempts to resume their normal life, with workplace and interpersonal demands uncovering dysfunction and behavioral issues.
As noted above, of particular concern is children who have suffered from a TBI, where the behavioral and cognitive effects of injury may not become apparent until later in a child’s development. As a result, a child may experience problems with learning ability, difficulties in social development and peer relations, behavioral problems, and difficulty processing social cues.
For a Free Consultation with an experienced Chicago brain injury attorney at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.