Do I Have a Brain Injury? Symptom Discovery Quiz

Gail Denton, PhD, Demos Medical Publishing
BrainLash: Questionnaire

This questionnaire will help focus your symptom discovery for brain injury. When answering these questions, do so in light of how you are presently functioning.

  • Have you been in an accident recently, say, within the last year?
  • Did you hit your head? Were you shaken, or did you experience a physical impact?
  • Were you taken to the hospital?
  • What was your diagnosis?
  • What doctors are you currently seeing?
  • Were x-rays, MRI, or CT scan taken? SPECT scan?
  • What medications are you currently taking? Were you given a prescription for this event?

Please read this list and indicate any problems you may be having. Remember to distinguish and notice if you had the problem or condition before the accident when evaluating if you have the condition presently. Note if it made a pre-existing issue worse.

Rate your problems on the following scale: Never, Occasionally, Sometimes, Frequently, or Always.


Pain

  • Do you have more headaches since your injury? Pain in the temples or forehead?
  • Do you have pain in the back of your head? Does it move forward? Are there moments of very sharp or stabbing pain that lasts for a few moments?
  • Do you tire more easily, either mentally or physically? Does fatigue worsen with pressured thinking or emotional situations?
  • Are your neck and shoulders beginning to hurt? Tingling down your arms? Overall aching feeling? Overall pain upon waking in the morning?
  • Are you overly sensitive to light, sound, motion, or intense environments? Do you have dark spots before you eyes or blurred vision? Does it get worse with fatigue?

Memory

  • Do you lose or misplace items?
  • Do you forget what people tell you? Or what you have said to others?
  • Do you forget where you parked your car? Or your current driving destination?
  • Do you forget what you’ve read? Or the last TV or radio topic?
  • Are you having difficulty remembering life details from the past?

Attention and Concentration

  • Are you having trouble concentrating? Holding a thought?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating in noisy or strongly lit environments?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating on more than one topic or task at a time?
  • Do you have difficulty focusing your attention while reading or watching TV?
  • Are you having difficulty staying focused when you are driving?
  • Do you have difficulty making decisions? Or remembering what you decided?
  • Do you drift off in conversation, unable to recall what has been said?
  • Is it stressful to read and answer this questionnaire?
  • Are you easily distracted? When interrupted, do you struggle to find your place again or return to your task?
  • Have you become impulsive, making decisions or remarks without thinking them through? Unintentionally hurting someone’s feelings? Impulse shopping?

Language and Communication

  • Do you have difficulty following a conversation?
  • Do you have difficulty thinking of the exact word or words you want to use?
  • Do you have problems expressing yourself in writing?
  • Is it difficult conversing with others or staying in a conversation?
  • Are you struggling to spell words? Do you reverse the letters?
  • Are you pronouncing words correctly? Is your tongue twisting words around or relocating words inaccurately in a sentence?

Visual Perception

  • Do you have increased sensitivity to light, sound, shopping, party, or large meeting environments?
  • Do objects seem closer or farther away than they actually are?
  • When reading, do printed letters appear to change their shape or position on the page? Are you experiencing eye strain or headaches when reading?
  • Do you have difficulty focusing your eyes on objects?
  • Do you feel dizzy or nauseous? Are you bumping into objects more than usual? Whacking your elbows, hitting your head, or stubbing your toes frequently?
  • Do your eyes struggle to track written text or follow moving objects?

Executive Function

  • Do you have difficulty following through with planning for work or leisure activities? Do you accurately gauge the time a task will take?
  • Do you have problems setting goals and priorities and keeping to your plan?
  • Do you have difficulty starting new tasks? Does a new task trigger depression, hopelessness or fatigue? Do you struggle to get in the mood to begin?
  • Do you have difficulty monitoring and correcting your errors?
  • Do you have difficulty changing from one task to another?
  • Are you able to anticipate the consequences of your actions? Can you foresee outcomes or project the future of a task.
  • Are you checking and rechecking your work? Does the slightest disruption in your routine derail you?
  • Are you unintentionally repeating yourself in conversation?

Emotional Function

  • Have you noticed frequent mood swings or emotional outbursts?
  • Do you have difficulty handling your anger?
  • Do you feel depressed? Are you fearful? Have you lost hope? Are you tired of fighting for recovery? Just want your life back the way it was?
  • Do you have feelings of anxiety, jumpiness, or nervousness?
  • Do family and friends comment on changes in your behavior? Are people living around you on the outskirts of you?
  • Trouble sleeping? Poor appetite or binge eating? Craving stimulant foods?
  • Do you feel hopeless, although you can identify things that are hopeful or positive? Does hope feel just out of your reach?
  • Have you become gullible? Easily distractible or unintentionally naïve? Can you tell when you are being teased, and do you respond with humor?
  • Are you easily startled, agitated, or irritated? Do you respond with aggression? Feel tense or wound up all the time? Overly sensitive to your environment?

Finances and Measurements

  • Do you have difficulty easily performing simple addition and subtraction?
  • Can you easily make change at the store?
  • Do you struggle to balance your checkbook as accurately as before?
  • Do you remember to open your mail, sort it, and pay your bills on time?
  • Can you follow a recipe easily, or comprehend and follow instructions to assemble or operate something? Can you easily follow a map or directions to a location?

Organization and Sequencing

  • Do you have difficulty following the steps of a recipe?
  • Do you attend to your mail on a regular basis? Can you accurately sort the junk mail and focus on mail worthy of your time and energy?
  • Do you struggle with performing, initiating, or keeping up with normal, routine household chores?
  • Do you have difficulty performing more than one household task at a time?
  • Can you effectively manage your time? Do you lose track of time?
  • Do you set priorities and fulfill your obligations?
  • Do you follow through on a project to the end, or do you set it aside with good intentions, yet ultimately abandon it?

Safety

  • Do you forget to turn off the iron, stove, tea pot, or other household appliances?
  • Do you forget where you are going when driving your car?
  • Do you forget to lock your doors at home? Do you lock your car doors? Garage door?
  • Do you forget important appointments (e.g., picking up the kids, going to your doctor’s appointment, banking your paycheck)?
  • Do you feel like your safety awareness levels are less than they should be?
  • Has your tolerance for alcohol, caffeine, or drugs decreased?

Lifestyle

Other quick questions you may relate to include: (Answering: Never, Occasionally, Sometimes, Frequently, and Always)

  • Remembering where your keys, glasses, purse, wallet are?
  • Remembering to brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and shower?
  • Remembering how to do all the parts of your job?
  • Do you lose track of time? Forget to eat? Forget who you just dialed on the phone?
  • Are you sleeping well? Are you easily fatigued?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed, or unable to cope?
  • Are you intolerant of noise? Even traffic noise? Even the dishwasher?
  • To have a successful conversation, must you turn off the radio or TV first?
  • Are you restless? Do you worry more? Lack patience?
  • Are you overwhelmed by simple pleasures, or by people you used to enjoy?
  • Do you feel like you are “losing it?” Out of control? Going crazy?
  • Do you hopelessly search for the word you want?
  • Is your speech slurred or jumbled? Are you inventing words that get jammed into each other?
  • Is your body’s temperature in control? Your appetite?
  • Are there changes in your sex drive or sexual response? Is orgasm a struggle?
  • Are there changes to your menses? Your sleep cycle? Digestive rhythm?

Likely, you see yourself in these questions. Somehow, your brain and emotional functions are different than they were before your incident. You need to know that you are not alone, and you are not crazy. There are actions you can take to enhance your mending process and to maximize your brain’s opportunity to recover and function to its highest potential.

Posted on BrainLine June 19, 2009.

From BrainLash: Maximize Your Recovery from Mild Brain Injury, Third Edition by Gail L. Denton, PhD. Demos Medical Publishing, 2008. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. www.demosmedpub.com.

Comments (102)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

Sounds like some have ADHD from childhood. I wouldn't consider this brain damage.

All of the above

great quiz .. thanks for this .. its hard having a brain injury as no one else can see it. finally feel not crazy. have been beat up by docs over 4 yrs.

i took alot of drugs, just random pills bought from highschoolers and had started having seizures and now i feel slow in my brain and motor skills. everything is harder. im barely functioning. my mom wont take me to doctor, she doesn't know abt the drugs she thinks its stress.. like ok sure i had 4 seizures in an hour

Go get help

I started having simple and complex partial seizures when I was about 14. I didn’t know what was happening so I kept it to myself until I had my first grand-mal at 19. I sadly was young and stupid, so I didn’t see a neurologist because I couldn’t afford it.

I was a skater/rollerblader growing up and had a few concussions from that. Since then I’ve had multiple severe grand-mal seizures where my head slammed into pavement, as well as in the shower of faucets. After years of different medications I’ve finally been able to get things under control these past 2 years.

With all the concussions added up over the years I’ve started noticing a lot of strange symptoms. After learning about CTE from football players and MMA fighters I started putting the pieces together.

I’m 30 now and have years where I only have brief memories. I’m a guitarist and forget songs within a day of learning them, as well as old songs I’ve played for years. I can’t even remember my families birthdays anymore. I even struggle to play video games because I need full immersion with no outside interference.

Learning about CTE really opened a door for me. I had no idea what was going on and I was very angry because I thought I was going insane.

All I can say is if you have any suspicion of seizures be sure to see a neurologist immediately. It will save you years of mental anguish.

Well crap I answered yes to almost everyone of the questions.

I can relate to all the quiz questions, I grew up with a abusive alcoholic father and my whole life up to 18 years old my father was abusive, always getting hit in my head ,whatever he had in his hands at the time, one of the worst was when living on a farm there was always work to be done, I was helping my father dig a ditch and I didn't have enough dirt on my shovel and he hit me across the head with the shovel because my shovel was not full...many stories I have like that, now at 57 years old I really do feel like I'm losing my mind.

I am so sorry to read your story. I truly hope you heal and find peace <3

SOMETIMES AT NIGHT MY MIND WILL GET DRIFTY GOING BACK AND FORTH IN ITS SPACE LOL SCARIEST SH!T EVER I DONT KNOW IF ITS NORMAL TO EVERYONE

HI...I THINK I MIGHTY HAVE A MODERATE TBI...WHEN I WAS YOUNG ABOUT 6-7 YEARS OLD IM 28 YEARS NOW I HAD AN ACCIDENT AT THE PARK WITH THE SWING... WE HAD FOUR SWINGS ALL IN ONE WITH WOODEN SEATS...I GOT HIT ON THE HEAD BY ALL OF THEM THEY HAD OTHER CHILDREN RIDING THEM AND BLOOD STARTED FLOWING OUT MY HEAD AND BLACKED OUT AND MY TBI WAS EXTREME BACK THEN...WHEN I HAD HEADACHES I WOULD PRAY FOR MY LIFE TO BE TAKEN THEN AND I WOULD VOMIT IF I DIDNT SLEEP T OFF CAUSE IF IM AWAKE IT GETS WORSE SMELL OF FOOD WHEN I HAVE HEADACHE STIL MAKES WANNA VOMIT...NOW IM OLD STRANGE THINGS HAPPENING AROUND ME I FEEL LIKE IM NEW TO MYSELF EVERYDAY BUT GOT USED TO THAT...NO MEDICAL TREATMENT I EVER HAD JUST PURE WATER AND ALOT OF SLEEP PILLS MAKE ME VOMIT...I WONDER HOW DO I HAVE UNTIL MY HEADACHES KILL ME

I have been having grand mal sezuize's for 10+years now have had severe headaches pressure in head like my brain going to pop out of my skull 7yrs ago found cyst in brain never followed up has gotten so bad I bang my head severely during sezuize's or in manic States pain is un real

Wow, scary. But I can't go to doctor, I run out of patience. I have had hundreds of head injuries in my life and I never been given any kind of scan, doctors get paid whether they fix you or not and it's cheaper to not. I have been struggling for 30yrs which is ironic because I'm 38 and I feel in my head that I am only 8.

I was suffocated in a physical abuse two and a half years ago for 1 minute, and because of that i have a very uncomfortable feeling of my larynx rubbing in my trachea every time i swallow and iam not taking my full breath, afterwards serval consequences occured: ( depression, anxiety, aggression, memory loss, poor concentration, bad headaches, dizziness, fatigue, lightheadness, acidity, hoarseness, abnormal movement of the larynx, short slow breathing, difficulty swallowing, can't burp nor yaw, cold pale skin, low blood pressure, numbness with coldness in brain and limbs, bending back as a result of my neck moving forward with time as a desperate breathing attempt ), I went to see a doctor three days after what happened and gave all the information but still didn't get dealt with and until now i didn't, so i started to underestimate too considering my parent's ignorance of how i am fine, my brain wasn't affected and that the reason i started to fail exams is that iam a disappointment.

Have had serve head injury banging head on walls floors ext without knowing memory loss serve headaches pressure in head

Wow I’m so sorry you experienced this. Definitely go get checked out and get to the bottom of it.

I get horrible headaches every day, I sometimes feel lightheaded, my head really hurts to move around, my eyes hurt too, I have gotten a lot of bloody noses, I get earaches every few hours. DO I HAVE BRAIN DAMAGE?

sometimes feel lightheaded

Yesterday I was roughing around with a buddy of mine and his elbow hit the back of my head, not too hard, but enough to make me grab the back of my head. The pain went away but, around 30 min later I got a small bloody nose and didn’t think anything of it bc it was hot and dry inside. But today I was reminded constantly of what had happened last night with the back of my head throbbing, though out the day I got more tired, I had like 4 bloody noses, and felt confused and haven’t been able to focus. I’m no stranger to head injuries, I’ve played football for almost 5 years and have had many hard blows to the head but only one minor concussion. The more research I do the more worried I get. The best way to describe what my head feels like is similar to when you are laying down for a long time and get up really fast and get light headed and dizzy, that’s what it feels like, but it’s like small aches for like 30 seconds at a time. The main thing I’m worried about is the mental part, a few hours ago I started feeling not like myself and couldn’t think. Like literally just blanking and staring at the wall and having no thoughts going through my mind. It’s frightening because I’m only 16 and I wouldn’t be in shambles if this was something severe. I haven’t vomited, been depressed, had anxiety, I mean this is only the second night after the incident but I’ve never had anything happen to me like this before and I’m quite concerned. I would extremely appreciate if some sort of doctor of expert would respond and give me some information or if anybody has a similar problem let me know too.

SORRY U GET DIZZY TOO IM WORRIED FOR MY LIFE THE OTHER DAY RECENTLY MONTH O SO I WAS WAKING UP FAST FROM A DEEP SLEEP AS SOMEONE WAS KNOCKING ON MY DOOR I STOOD FOR 2 SECONDS AND MY BODY STARTED TO SHUTDOWN AS I FELL ON THE FLOOR COULD GET UP FOR ANOTHER 2 SECONDS TRY MY BEST TOO THOUGH...FEELS LIKE MY BRAIN IS PLAYING TRICKS WITH MY BODY IT MAKES ME SAD TO THINK ABOUT IT AND IM EXTREMELY TOO EMOTIONAL BUT I CAN CONTROL MY SELF WELL TOO BUT FOR HOW LONG

This sounds ominous - playing high school sports can obviously expose you to being hit many times which could have an impact on brain health. I’ve been reading a lot about it lately because my son is having difficulties with executive functions . But I urge you to ask your parents to get you to a Dr who should order some tests and an assessment. Also, it would probably be a good idea to forego any more football. Go read about CTE and the percentage of football players who end up with it - it’s just not worth it IMHO.

I have also have the dizziness and random aches, I also got that mental thing bro. I'm only 14 but I got hit in the back of the head but it wasnt a hard blow. It happened 2 months ago and I am also worried about it being a brain bleed.

I have brain damage
Preston too

I am here if you want to talk.

I am so unbelievably sorry

I had an abnormal childhood, at 14 I had to basically chase off people in the surrounding deep woods and disregarded our hilltop 20 acres, fenced, with no neighbors. I had to get into tree to tree gunfights to chase thugs off, once having a bullet skip off the back of my skull. I vaguely recall a dead partial tree top fall and hit me on the head, knocking me out. Wanting to know how to survive anything like my teens again, I joined the Marines, then Navy SpecOps then the Army until I got a medical during that time. I have a left leg knee to foot mostly titanium inside and numb. I lost my left testicle and a blown left eardrum and a TBI. I later had a deer/car accident where the seatbelt failed and I broke my face-TBI #2 to my memory. I worked 2 prisons and 2 jails, at least one other TBI, ultimately leading to my first 2 week long migraine, driving my regular great BP to 200/190 and I spurted blood out my nose and mouth and had all the symptoms of a stroke for 3 months until I recovered by will power. I became a Government Security Contractor and then Google patrol security. One night a large truck rear ended me explosively at 85+mph 18 September 2009 at 0015 hrs. I instantly had ringing ears, head pain and broke my eye socket and temple bone and sinus as my face repeatedly bounced off the steering wheel. I have had scores of tests and deep needles, trigeminal nerve damage, and, according to my fifth neurologist I have ''every type migraine and headache known to man.'' I have these NONSTOP! Even at present with morphine er 60mg 3x daily, oxycodone, Lyrica, antidepressants x2, muscle relaxants, valium, ointment of ketamine, lidocaine and gabapentin for my damaged neck vertebrae and side trigeminal nerves that are like chewed up dog toys now! I have to daily find a reason to continue. At best I get to a 7/10 pain, and I am sliding downward. I hope to at least get my morphine upped to 75mg-(60+15mg), every 6 hours or the new dilaudid injectables my pharmacist told me about. I actually even have migraines AND Cluster headaches simultaneously lately! Dilaudid IVs are the only things that have ever stopped the pain for a day, with a willing ER, but now a days they treat you like a junkie from behind their dumpsters outside! I have only one doc, an hour away, with enough integrity to medicate me, knowing that with the new ridiculous guidelines I still remain in pain. This is sad, because near Charleston, South Carolina I am surrounded by hospitals and doctors! South Carolina has no true pain center treatment centers except the ''drive thru shot clinics!'' When I eventually wear down, or maybe get CTE, I imagine nothing will change. The DEA is the new Gestapo. Peace. Mike

Oh my God bro peace be with you brother. I'll be praying for you.

I went through a lot of child abuse trama- my dad once tripped me and I hit the back of my head on the dining room table- and my mother threw me into walls and I remember always hitting my head- one on the wall- then the dog crate and then the floor. But I have most if not all of these symptoms- it’s hard for me to read

I'm so sorry my friend, iv had alot of bad things done to me in my life by doing things to my head and I cant remember what but I have to take high dosage of depression tablets as I have really bad anxiety and depression / remember things.
Do your best not to think of them bad things as like me we cant remember and it will just make you so sad and unwell :(.

could i have a head injury and not know?? like could my family keep it from me ?

Maybe my friend , have you had yours looked at yet?

Hi I was hit by a car when was 7 years old and Ave a metal plate in my head on the right side at the front and wa last scanned when was 9.i am now 38.but I'm getting alot of headaches. In forgetting alot of things ever day.wers my plate is it some times feels like bloods running in my head.my doctor wont take on what I'm telling him

What I would do ask them to send you to Hospital so the hospital can do a check up as it been very long time from when you had it done.

I WAS HIT BY A CAR AS WELL IN 1990. USED TO HAVE REALLY REALLY BAD headaches. Went and saw a brain doctor. He put me on antidepressants which helped headaches get less. The surgeon told my mum THAT ID HAVE HEADACHES FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE ON AND OFF. BUT ITS MADE A DIFFERENCE. CHANGE YOUR DOCTOR AS WELL

This questionnaire is way too long for anyone but definitely someone with head injury!!???

Agree .. I’ve had lots of head traumas .. even hit by a boat .. BUT … we’ll over half I said yes too

I agree it's very hard to answer a lot of questions and not reasonable to spect me to have enough insight to recognize and address my symptoms but I am flattered by your confidentiality in me. I try very hard to be a proper respectable human. I wake up early cuz if I don't people will think I'm lazy.

YOU'RE NOT LASY AT ALL. I STILL GET TIRED AND I Had My ACCIDENT IN 1990.
DONT BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT. NO PERSON IS THE SAME. I MIGHT B ABLE TO HELP U IN SOME WAY CAUSE IVE BEEN THROUGH IT AND I'M STILL GOING THROUGH IT. IVE GOT LOTS OF PROBLEMS ONGOING BUT IVE COME OUT ON TOP. I HAVE A BALANCE PROBLEM BUT IVE ONLY FALLEN OVER ONCE IN A WHOLE MONTH. THAT'S IS SUCH A GREAT THING FOR ME.

I’ve done some self inflicted harm by hitting my head hard on a solid surface. I’ve done it a couple of time and I’m starting to worry as I’ve noticed a decline in my cognitive function :(( what should I do??

Me too. Lots of cognitive decline. Help!

Make that three!!

i cant remember anything

I was in a car accident last year but after I thought I was healed and now it been almost a year and i have been progressively getting worse I have pretty much all of those on that list of questions should I seek medical help

My dad stomped on the head when I was I think 12 -11 and ever sense then I've kinda had these symptoms and by kinda I mean it´s a fact of life now

WHY am I being refused treatment after 10 or more untreated t.b.i.'s???

10 years ago I suffered a broken body due to a car accident . Apparently I am suffering from an undiagnosed abi as I suffer from almost everything listed. I am glad to know I am not crazy though that is a relief . But I wish the few people left in my life would stop calling me that once I am triggered . It feels like I share my mind with a maniac and I live in fear of him coming out . I have had to set rules to prevent his appearance but its never enough because people cant see my brains broken . I am tired of crying for death because there isnt a moment where my body or a misunderstanding is causing some sort of anquish . My biggest fear is loosing my licence over it if I do seek help. Or things progressing and I no longer can live on my own . As I have no one to be able to get myself around . I feel so lost and dont know where to turn for support . I am so tired of overwhelming any one I let in because I need so much help and there are so many rules to follow to prevent any madness from slipping out . The other side is I am tired of loosing my life always searching for the things I need or crying over why people cause extra difficulties instead of be compassionate patient and just help .

I played football growing up and through college. 13 years total and had so many concussions I could not even guess the number. "Coach I saw stars. Shake it offf kid and go back in. Got it coach....." "Lead with the head" is what I was told. Im scared shitless because I literally have every symptom. Wife doesn't believe in CTE says I have mental issues. Older I get the worse I am. Don't like social situations. Anger explosive at times but don't act. Addiction switch all the time is now on. Thankfully realize alcohol is my kryptonite and haven't drunk in 8 years but anxiety, depression, forgetting where I put anything gets worse every day. Daily thoughts that I want to die but to chicken shit to do it. Noone knows what it is like in my skull and the more I try to talk about it it seems people shy away. I honestly hate my life and do not know what to do. I cannot live like this much longer. Already listed for donating my brain post-death. Zero ambition. Zero drive. I am a mental shell of a person and what I used to be. 52 years old and I want to take a bridge abutment doing 80. already made decision someone pulls in front of me, crosses over in my lane, I am not stopping. Hopefully head on so it goes quick.....

I have a hypoxic brain injury. The anger is unfortunately Common. As well as so many other problems. Sorry to hear your in such a bad place! Somehow I’ve had to learn how to work around or just accept problems and be glad I don’t suffer from a more miserable condition

im a 20 year old male that got into an atv accident and i was a perfectly healthy kid always shy but also outgoing and as the years have passed in the last 4 years of the accident i can feel my mental health is out of check from what it use to be i am on the brink of letting it all go. i find a drive than i give up on it the next day like a constant 50\50 in my brain i want to do good things but i cant because i cant let myself anymore its almost easier to let my brain fry. i have been having small seizures when drinking too much and im the exact same way as you are feeling so just so you know you are not alone in this were all people here on this page that want to do good and just need help. i dont know if any of this made any sense at all but im here too man so maybe just try to live for now. this life is all that we all have nobody is any diffrent so take care of youself or at least try on the days that you feel like you can. thats what im trying to do. definitly still going to a doctor. stay safe Frank were all here

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