What Impact Will Moderate or Severe TBI Have on a Person's Life?

Mount Sinai Medical Center
What Impact Will Moderate or Severe TBI Have on a Person's Life?

What are the typical long-term effects?

In considering the long-term effects of TBI on the individual, it is most important to emphasize that there is no "typical" person with TBI. People who have experienced a TBI vary on many dimensions: 1) severity of initial injury; 2) rate and completeness of physiological healing; 3) types of functions affected; 4) meaning of dysfunction in the individual's life, in the context of his/her roles, values, and goals; 5) resources available to aid recovery of function; and so forth. Thus, the most important point to emphasize is that the consequences will be different for each individual injured.

In discussing possible effects of TBI, the immediate physiological recovery (which may continue over months and years) was discussed in a prior question. When the moderately or severely injured person has completed this initial recovery, the long-term functional deficits associated with TBI come to the fore. What areas of functioning may be affected by injury to the brain? Any or all of the functions the brain controls may be impacted. However, given that individuals differ greatly in their response to injury, any specific individual may experience only one, a few, or most of the possible effects. Further, a change in any of the possible areas of dysfunction, if it occurs at all, will vary in intensity across individuals - from very subtle to moderate to life threatening.

It is important to be aware also that not all functions of the individual are impacted by TBI. For example, feelings toward family, long-term memories, the ability to ski or cook, one's knowledge of the world, and so forth - all may be intact, along with numerous other characteristics of an individual, even one who has experienced a moderate to severe injury.

The possible long-term effects of moderate-to-severe brain injury are discussed in the following three questions.

How are thinking and other aspects of cognition affected?

Individuals with a moderate-to-severe brain injury most typically experience problems in basic cognitive skills: sustaining attention, concentrating on tasks at hand, and remembering newly learned material. They may think slowly, speak slowly, and solve problems slowly. They may become confused easily when normal routines are changed or when the stimulation level from the environment exceeds their threshold. They may persevere at tasks too long, being unable to switch to a different tactic or a new task when encountering difficulties. Or, on the other hand, they may jump at the first "solution" they see, substituting impulsive responses for considered actions. They may be unable to go beyond a concrete appreciation of situations, to find abstract principles that are necessary to carry learning into new situations. Their speech and language may be impaired: word-finding problems, understanding the language of others, and the like.

A major class of cognitive abilities that may be affected by TBI is referred to as executive functions - the complex processing of large amounts of intricate information that we need to function creatively, competently and independently as beings in a complex world. Thus, after injury, individuals with TBI may be unable to function well in their social roles because of difficulty in planning ahead, in keeping track of time, in coordinating complex events, in making decisions based on broad input, in adapting to changes in life, and in otherwise "being the executive" in one's own life.

With appropriate training and other supports, the person may be able to learn to compensate for some of these cognitive difficulties.

The TBI Research Center at Mount Sinai is conducting research to help people with TBI who experience cognitive difficulties. Descriptions of these studies are found at Rehabilitation Trials.

How are mood and behavior affected?

With TBI, the systems in the brain that control our social-emotional lives often are damaged. The consequences for the individual and for his or her significant others may be very difficult, as these changes may imply to them that "the person who once was" is "no longer there." Thus, personality can be substantially or subtly modified following injury. The person who was once an optimist may now be depressed. The previously tactful and socially skilled negotiator may now be blurting comments that embarrass those around him/her. The person may also be characterized by a variety of other behaviors: dependent behaviors, emotional swings, lack of motivation, irritability, aggression, lethargy, being very uninhibited, and/or being unable to modify behavior to fit varying situations.

A very important change that affects many people with TBI is referred to as denial (or, lack of awareness): The person becomes unable to compare post-injury behavior and abilities with pre-injury behavior and abilities. For these individuals, the effects of TBI are, for whatever reason, simply not perceived - whether for emotional reasons, as a means of avoiding the pain of fully facing the consequences of injury, or for neurological reasons, in which brain damage itself limits the individual's ability to step back, compare, evaluate differences, and reach a conclusion based on that process.

With appropriate training, therapy, and other supports, the person may be able to reduce the impact of some of these emotional and behavioral difficulties.

The TBI Research Center at Mount Sinai is conducting research to help people with TBI who experience depression and other mood disturbances. Descriptions of these studies are found at Rehabilitation Trials.

What other changes are likely after moderate/severe TBI?

Any of the ways we have of sensing/perceiving may be affected by TBI. Vision may be affected in many ways: loss of vision, blurred visual images, inability to track visual material, loss of parts of the field of vision, reduced depth perception, and sometimes disconnection between visual perception and visual comprehension, so that the person does not know what he or she is seeing. Changes also may occur in the senses of hearing, smell, taste, and touch; the individual may become overly sensitive or insensitive. Further, the person may have difficulty sensing the location of his/her own body in space. Other individuals with TBI may have recurring problems with balance, vertigo, and ringing in the ears.

A relatively small percent of individuals with TBI experience seizures. For most of these, the initial onset of seizures occurs soon after injury. For others, the onset may take place up to several years post-injury. Two types of seizures may occur. Major motor seizures refer to what were once called grand mal seizures and involve loss of consciousness and vigorous, uncontrolled movement of the major muscle systems. Local motor seizures do not lead to loss of consciousness and involve less muscle movement. Some individuals with TBI use anticonvulsive drugs to prevent seizures or stop them during the course of a seizure.

If motor areas of the brain are damaged, the person with TBI may experience varying degrees of physical paralysis or spasticity, affecting a wide variety of behavior from speech production to walking. Damage to brain tissue can also evidence itself in chronic pain, including headaches. Also, evidence is growing that hormonal, endocrine, and other body systems are affected by the brain injury. Consequently, the individual may lose control of bowel and bladder functions, may sleep poorly, may fatigue easily, may lose appetite for food or be unable to control eating, and/or may be unable to regulate body temperature within normal boundaries. Women with TBI often experience menstrual difficulties. Some of our research on post-TBI health and medical issues is discussed in TBI Consumer Report No. 1.

The TBI Research Center at Mount Sinai is conducting research to help people with TBI who experience fatigue. A description of this study is found at Rehabilitation Trials.

Why are we poor at predicting outcome?

The severity of the injury and the resulting direct effects on the individual's body systems may not predict the amount of impact in a person's life. This follows, first and foremost, because each of us draws in different ways on differing parts of our brains. For example, a severe injury to the frontal brain area may have less impact on an agricultural worker's job performance than a relatively mild frontal injury would have on a physicist's work. In sum, the meaning of the various patterns of injury and the associated changes in any person's life will depend on preinjury lifestyle, personality, goals, values, resources, as well as the individual's ability to adapt to changes and to learn techniques for minimizing the effects of brain injury.

We know in general that the variability of patterns of change associated with brain injury are shaped by many factors: the severity of injury and age at injury, time in coma, time since injury, length of PTA, the resources and services available to the injured person, the barriers met or advantages offered within different social contexts, the social and role demands that exist within the individual's life, and so on. How these factors work, in what ways, and how often is not clear. We know that TBI hits people differently, but have less knowledge of the number of people that experience various types of consequences and the specific factors affecting this.

What can I do to help the process of recovery?

Immediately after injury, friends and family who want to help should focus on insuring that the injured person receives medical care that will minimize the effects of injury. This usually means that the person should be receiving care in a medical center that specializes in trauma care. This topic is covered more fully in another question, What Is the Course of Treatment for Those with Moderate/Severe TBI?

Once issues of life-and-death have been addressed, the person's functioning as a cognitive, emotional, and social entity comes to the fore. The individual is faced with many or a few of the possible changes described in preceding questions.

It has been suggested (by Kay and Lezak in 1990) that "recovery" is a misnomer and that "improvement" better describes what happens in the long run after TBI. The word recovery may, inappropriately, suggest that the effects of TBI will disappear, similar to symptoms vanishing when we recover from a cold. With TBI, some of the effects may truly dissipate after one year, two years, or more, but more frequently these long-term changes linger on, subtly or not so subtly, changing only slowly, if at all, over the life course.

What must be kept in mind at all times is that impairments that are due to injury of brain tissue can be helped through reeducation of the individual and through modification of the environment. Thus, for example, although the brain circuits involved in memory may never function in the ways and at the levels found before injury, remembering (a necessary skill in day-to-day life) may be improved by the individual's learning compensatory skills, such as using a daily diary to remember appointments, and by adjusting parts of the environment (alarm clocks, computer reminder programs, and family members) to jog memory.

The boundary of improvement is set by the individual's ability to learn new ways of doing things or to relearn formerly familiar skills. Since the brain mediates all learning and the brain is damaged, learning is often slow and/or incomplete.

The major role for friends and family at this stage of recovery is to help find resources that will help the injured person in addressing emotional, cognitive, physical, and behavioral challenges.

Some individuals with TBI largely move away from the notion of "recovering" the pre-injury self. They reach a point, instead, when they view the losses/changes/deficits as "simple facts" or even "opportunities." For these people, terms such as "devastation" and "loss" get redefined and no longer are seen as applying to them. Their injury has let them see other possibilities for their lives than what they saw before injury. These possibilities may be just as (or more) satisfying to the person with TBI than what was "in store" for them prior to injury.

Posted on BrainLine July 25, 2008

From Mount Sinai Medical Center. www.mssm.edu.

Comments

Starting with unusual symptoms like vision, balance, headaches, and difficulty swallowing, etc. I was encouraged by my awesome wife to get chef out, basic tests were negative, so a scan was done CT, revealing a tumor. Fast forward to the surgery, a craniotomy through the ear/sinus area, 5 days of hospital stay, and first day home suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage, rushed back to hospital for a ventriculostomy. Coma for 10 days, woke up to excruciating pain, to discover a metal catheter was located into my midbrain to relieve blood pooling and pressure. Hospital stay at brain trauma institute for 6 weeks. Released to home care, out of work for over three months. Upon my return to work as an Arborist. I was determined to convince people that I was able to continue in my profession of 25 years. Things became increasingly difficult, as dizziness, chronic fatigue, headaches, and questionable mental processing were daily struggles. Suffered a TBI after a blackout episode in my bathroom, hitting my head on the cast iron bathtub, breaking the hot water stem. Woke to my wife screaming and blood everywhere, yet another ambulance ride and a few more days in the hospital.

And then the real troubles began, I was not able to sleep for over a month, depression, anxiety, intercranial pressure and fighting to prove my way back into the workplace, proved to be overwhelming. A team of good Dr's, my personal care physician, a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, a neuropsychiatric specialist all worked together to form a formal diagnosis and treatment plan.  After more lengthy tests and medications, I was able to start sleeping again, what a joyful thing! 

Since then, my journey was one stumbling block after another, as I was becoming more aware of my accumulated deficits, and how they were affecting my day to day struggles, interpersonal work relationships, trust, critical thinking, organizational, strategic, multitasking, creative, improvisational, etc. As the years past, somehow, I was able to blend in enough to keep the focus off of me and my struggles. 

Just recently, I have retired from my job after 32 years, after continuing my treatments and a neuropsychological exam, which revealed what we suspected, severe and permanent damage to 3 areas of my brain were limiting my abilities, and were increasingly affecting my performance and workplace relationships. 

While this may seem like a lot of setbacks, I am grateful for all the incredible caregivers, especially my wife, for their sincere and professional talents, who not only saved my life, but have kept us on the ongoing road to recovery, while my life will never be what it used to be. Learning to live a simpler, less stressful life has been a welcome learning experience for me, after a life of being a type A, competitive, strongwilled, driven person, although most would say the adjustment hasn't been exactly smooth. Stay blessed all of you.

It's been 10 years or so and I'm still hurting. It seems like more and more stuff is going wrong with me (or i'm just now becoming more aware of it) and it traces back to my TBI.

I fell 25 feet on my job in 2008. I fractured my skull in 4 places. In the last 2 years,my speech is really bad, my memory is going pretty fast. It really has been hard, people look at me and think "oh he looks good etc" but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I pray no one else ever has to go through it.

Happened to click on this site. Previously, I was quite an avid contributor. Fabulous web site. For a person who has sustained a TBI, persistence is a requirement. Frustration is a frequent companion as this tumultuous crisis has overtaken your world. First and foremost, you must come to terms with yourself and mind. A drastic change has occurred in life for you.You must come to terms with such. Anger is of no use. None what so ever, one would think but a deeper  look into the matter reveals a sliver of sustenance. Motivation, energy. Yes, two items you need in vast supplies. Not all the time, though. As I've written before, nothing is good, nothing is bad... perspective. We've been touched, chosen... accept it and move ahead on your new occupation, chief reflector of the seemingly insurmountable pangs of negativity that abound 24/7 in the "state of mind." Change that mental direction, Slowly, remember "fast" is a word of the past. Grasp on to your new world. Slow is the way to go. Inner calm is to be realized... you live, there is life in thee, nurture, for in time you will be rewarded for your persistence. It be so!!!

AC

You need to be around people that support you and that are optimistic. Not ones that slow down your progress and spirit. God bless you.

Minor TBI?  Really/  My brain (injured) from my minor concussion  (while working alone) told me I was okay.  I stayed at work despite some vertigo and forgetting some words.  I made decisions with the logic of about a 6-year-old child, but no one noticed.  I felt like I was drunk for days, but I showed up and went to work so no one cared.  Finally, thankfully, brain cells died and I got a terrible headache, etc. and a bit of sense. I had to go to the ER. I still have cognitive issues three weeks after the fall. and my employer insists that I go back to work.  I have warned them that my decision-making skills and cognitive ability are still somewhat dysfunctional.  They do not believe me.  Tomorrow I will be humiliated, but yes, I will return with my sunglasses, walking sticks for balance, bad memory, poor organization, mental fog, etc.  I warned them that I cannot be responsible for the safety of others right now.  I now know the meaning of brain injury, but sadly my bosses and their customers will only learn tomorrow at my expense. When I need to, I will repeatedly explain that I have a brain injury from which I have not fully recovered..  I have given notice at work since they refused to pay my medical and worker's comp benefits, so I will move on, after some time at my brother's house.  I wish myself and everyone else the best.  I take hope in the fact that total recovery may not be possible, but that new windows of opportunity may open if I make myself available. I will work through the stops of recovery, and life will go on.

Just read the first 3 pages. It's me. It sucks

I have tbi for 37 years and now it's effecting me more then I'm getting older, will I loose my memory more as i get older?

I had a TBI 11 yes ago I was in a car accident it killed husband and two of my children I was in a coma almost four months the seatbelt severed my corrated artery I had several strokes while I in a coma I am raising my son all by myself he was just a baby but the only thing wrong with me is I can not talk right. You defiantly can't understand me on the phone and my hands are drawn in towards my body due to the strokes

After reading through the comments, I am relieved that I am not crazy after all. I had a TBI when I was 10, about 23 years ago, and have been dealing with so many of the same issues that so many others are going through. I fell off the hood of a truck as it was moving down the road. I was told that my head was the first thing to hit the pavement, but I can't remember what happened. I was med-flighted to a hospital where the doctors took a piece of my skull out to relieve the pressure. I was in a coma for a week and remained in the hospital for a week or so after that. When I sustained my injury, I lost my ability to read, write and talk normally. I knew what I wanted to say, I just couldn't put the words in the right order.  I suffered from what they told me were silent seizers, I seen the world as a kind of cartoon for several weeks after getting out of the hospital. I slowly recovered and returned to normal activities. I have always struggled with lack of emotion when I should of had it and then crying at times when it was completely inappropriate, for instance when I am overwhelmed. I often can't concentrate and my memory is completely terrible. I also suffer from minor headaches at certain times, to debilitating migraines at other times. I have a very hard time being in large groups of people and maintaining normal relationships. It seems that the last few years these symptoms are getting worse. Where do even start to look for help? 

hello everyone and my co-TBIs out there. I got my tbi with diffuse axonal injury last march 15, 2013, went to coma for 10 days, hospitalized for 3 weeks, but I just can't share how it feels because i really don't remember a thing at all. For 4 months everything just got erased. Right now, I'm more or less 75% good. I drive myself to work, the things that bothers me though not that much is my vertigo, right from the second I wake up until I get back into bed at night. I also lost my ability to ride all 2 wheels -- motorcycle and bicycle. It's like a light switch, the vertigo is there whenever I need balance but the moment I sit (like driving a car), it's gone. Another is paresthesia, my entire right leg has that tingly feeling, like pins and a bit numb, entire day 24/7. Just another challenge to take. But above all these, I'm good. Just thought I'd share something, thank you.

I have had 10 plus concussions and 5 years later I still have memory loss. I used to had photographic memory. I still have that but people treat me like I'm a leper. It frustrates me so much my symptoms come back full force. I want my life back. I was on the president's list every year in college. How do I convinced colleges and my husband that I am very capable of living a good life? When he treats me like I am mentally challenged. It sets me back in my recovery. I start to believe it.

Prior to TBI I had nearly a photographic memory. Now (4 years out from the accident and coma/brain surgery) I have that same memory of everything up to one year before the tbi. I still retain all of my math skills, computational, and knowledge, but can't transfer short-term to long term memory. I also get very emotional over certain things and sometimes loose my voice when I get stressed.

I believe I have CTE. I have had many concussions over the years. Several lately due to an auto accident and balance issues. Everything I thought was just from getting older is not that. Last year all the symptoms sped up. I can't even do simple subtraction anymore. Does anyone think they have CTE out there? My life is falling apart. My wife thinks it's just me, that I have no problem. How long do I have? I know a lot of people that have this commit suicide with really no warning. Since I lost my daughter to crib death at 11mo, 3 weeks, I've had a death wish. I'm afraid someday it will happen to me with no warning. No one understands. I have no one.

My husband fell from 14 feet headfirst onto a concrete floor on May 24,2015.  He suffered a subdural hematoma in the occipital lobe and the left temporal lobe was battered.  He had an embolism rupture during first brain surgery.  The Neurologist doesn't know why he is still alive, but he is!  He was in coma for 3 weeks and on a ventilator.  He had brain injury, broken shoulder, bone flap in skull removed due to swelling, broken nose, broken ribs, and was blind.  He has undergone PT, OT, Speech, and vocal cord therapies, 11 surgeries.  He can see now and talk,  Is back at work full time and even sang a solo at our church during Christmas.  His biggest problems are fatigue, headaches and for me, the fact that he thinks he is fully recovered even though I feel like I am living with a different man than the one I married 36 years ago.  Don't get me wrong, I praise and thank God every day for his blessings, but it isn't easy.

Reading through the posts I realize that we are incredibly blessed!  I just wish I knew how to improve headaches and fatigue,  This journey is ongoing and some family think that he is fully recovered not wanting to acknowledge his differences. I have accepted that people can choose to be ignorant and I can't change that.  Thanks for being my sounding board.  Hang in there everybody!

I had a severe TBI 15 years ago and was seizure free for 11 years until just last month I don't know what to do. Is there any support groups to offer help or guidance in NY for those with TBI? I'd rather be dead than have Alzheimer's or dementia. Is there anyway to prevent that?

I am 32 years old and in the military.  I had to jump through hoops in the recruiter's office to join because I had a major head trauma when I was 8 where I had to relearn how to walk and talk. I had to do lots of paperwork and see lots of doctors that said I was okay to join. After the accident, when I was 8, I was in a coma for over a week and I had a grand mal seizure for which they gave me meds as I was being airlifted on helicopter from the crash site to the children's hospital. 

I have a friend who is a Special Forces combat medic who recently sustained a deployment-related TBI. He used to have emotional control issues and angry outbursts because of the TBI until he got treatment for it and now he is being med boarded out of the Army by his own choice. When his wife was talking to my wife, she told her that I have the same issues (emotional control) that her husband had after the TBI. Now both my SF Combat Medic buddy and his wife think my issues may be related to the head trauma I had as a kid.

I have to admit emotional control has always been difficult for me since I can remember.  It's been difficult on my relationship with my wife since we've known each other. I've always done my best to keep it under control, but it's really hard and sometimes I don't do very well. I've always had to work really hard to control it and sometimes I'm wildly unsuccessful.  I have never and would never physically abuse my wife or kids, but sometimes I can't control my attitude and emotions and I end up saying and doing things or acting in ways that are hurtful. The accident was 24 years ago, but I think my friend may be onto something by suggesting it could be related to the head trauma.

Michelle, My daughter had a TBI 6 months ago. She sees an Integrated Neurologist that referred her to Vision Specialist of Michigan who work with TBI issues as you have explained. There is hope for him.

My partner has a fractured skull that happened 10 years ago. He's always suffered with headaches since but the past couple of days his headaches have become worse than normal with blurred vision. I'm wanting advice as he is a stubborn man who won't let me take him to the doctors but I'm worried now as he admits the headache is worse than he's had before. Any advice much appreciated. Thank you. Michelle

Has anyone in here tried NCR work (Neuro-Cranial Restructuring)?  I work with professional fighters and have noticed a large difference with massive trauma to the skull.  Headaches can be caused by a lot, as well as depression and mood swing issues.  There is also the issue of the body restructuring itself around an injury and creating temporary occlusions to blood flow in the brain - leading to massive headaches.  There are a lot of things to consider, but neck trauma associated with head trauma should be addressed in order to solidify a proper blood supply to the recovering brain.  Other methodology includes hyperbaric chamber utilization as well as proper supplementation to eliminate neural inflammation and promote neural healing.  Happy to answer questions if anyone has any, I'm and ATC, and MATm, and I've been working with NCR trained MD's for athletes I'm involved with and their recovery.  Not sure how to put contact info up, but check out www.thebodymechanicMAT.com to find my contact info.

Best of luck to everybody and I wish the speediest recoveries to all.

-Aj

I'm not sure if anyone will read this but I'm just wondering if I can get any input. I found this article extremely useful. When my older brother was 16 he was skiing alone and got into a skiing accident (we still don't know exactly how it happened), and he had to be helicoptered to the nearest hospital. He was in a comba for four days, broke both his wrists, but surprisingly no internal bleeding but still intense headaches and head trauma. It took him about six months to come back to normal academically and in all visible ways. He's now 20, and the reason I'm writing is because he has been pretty severely depressed right about since the time of his accident. I never put two and two together because I never even thought that TBI could cause personality changes, but after reading this article I now see that it's actually a common thing. I want to get my brother help, but his accident seems so long ago and I'm not sure how to approach it. 

My brothers used me as a crash test dummy when I was a kid and I was knocked unconscious and woke up in the E.R. The headaches were real bad the first 2 years. I never did well in school after that because I was violent and couldn't pay attention.. but I am doing fine. We press on...

Wow - the stories on this page are totally eye-opening. I feel like posting - which might mean I am getting used to not working and having time on my hands.

OK - so I am a 54 y.o. male. It is now 4 months since bicycle accident (front forks broke) with 1 day coma, 12 days hospital stay, right & left epidural haemorrhages, left anteomedial frontal contusion, bilateral complex temporoparietal skull fractures into condylar fossae and mastoid process (plus 10 ribs, right clavical, fractured cervical and crushed thoratic vertibrae). Whew - what a mouthful. So I was classified as severe to very severe TBI but now I am pretty much normal, just sailed through my neurospych exam averaging in superior range. I am gradually learning how incredibly blessed I am that I have escaped any serious impairment. (Yes - I did have ringing ears 95% better, funny smells 95%, still have some dizziness 80%, and some back pain from the crushed thoratics 80% - but nothing that would stop me functioning at least 90% normal life). Will be returning to work next year with partially reduced workload. 

One thing I would say. I usually thought I was more recovered than I actually was. Being a fitness person I tended to push myself a bit too much, and also overestimated how quickly I would recover. So I have had to settle down a bit and make sure I sleep properly etc. That's the funny thing about brain injury, I can't trust myself to correctly judge how well I am with my own brain. 

The other thing is that I am quite sure I could have easily died, and that emergency services got me in straight to the trauma team (Sydney's Westmead hospital) without 1/2 hour and care has been excellent. But for the most part, fitness or health care cannot promise anything. My accident was more a miracle than good luck or "my fitness" as some people say. It was God. Apparently when I was coming out of coma I was singing a little old worship song... "Praise the Lord, Oh give thanks to the Lord..." And was very peaceful. Well, praise God. 

Does anyone know if there are studies looking at undiagnosed TBI 's that happened decades ago. I fell off a horse about 40 years ago and as I age, my concentration abilities have been declining.

In response to the post Sep 2nd, 2016 12:55pm, there is hope. I was almost 4 years old when I fell out of the 3rd story window of a hotel onto the pavement of the parking lot below. I had a few medical procedures I scarcely remember and I had migraines and nausea for years after. I struggled a lot in elementary and middle school, but, now I'm 20 in college and things are generally looking up.

I'll never be "normal," my scar makes thinking physically feel like exercise and it still flares up in pain whenever I'm tired, angry, ashamed, or panicked (e.g. I'll never get over my fear of thunder because the noise makes my scar hurt like crazy).

Although it is a struggle, it is nevertheless possible, with proper medical treatment and support, to live a meaningful life.

After an accident I had I couldn't smell or taste. I believe the senses involved that have gotten knocked off balance. I'm scared most times but recently have been having head pains 13 years later. I'm sorry you're having problems. Only thing I can say is take care of yourself, don't stress or be around noisy things. Relax and eat fruit, drink water and be comfortable sleeping

I can't smell anything, my balance is off, fatigue daily, it's almost 3 yrs since my injury of glaucoma 3. my mom says the doc didn't say my brain would stay damaged that I would be sleepy daily for 4-5 mos. So I should go and see a doc to see why I can't stay awake daily. And that I should go and see a doc to see how much my brain bled. Why can't poeple accept us for the way we are?

Anyone have a experiences with some who try to kill themselves with a gun and survived and is now recovering? I need help on this issue and how to cope and get stronger and not hurt by the words he says.

I had a concussion 11 mos ago...so mild compared to everyone else's stories. I cannot believe the lack of care I have had through my regular doctor, a referred sports doc, various other walk in clinic doctors here in BC canada. Even the person at the brain injury society had no suggestions on how I can be able to exercise again and not have post concussion syndrome. I am at 11 mos post accident. Sometimes I can't walk and get left leg weakness and drag my leg and I get super dizzy and have to grab on to anything standing. Once again I am totally disgusted with the non support of the medical community...no one knew who to refer me to...I am now doing cranial sacral and am trying a physio...but he kind of shook my head around again to look for eye head coordination....and then the whole walking issue came up tonight..with the left leg weakness. It is hard to adjust to changes...to leave behind many of the activities you love...due to symptoms being provoked. I think meditation to get the body from pasarasympathetic fight or flight back to sympathetic rest and relaxation is one of the best. I plan on joining yoga. Being positive and thankful for all that is working. I look up to many of the posters....thanks for sharing. Thing is...every day for those of us who are still feeling ok..if we have the energy to reach out and help others even less fortunate...this is how i want to live. I am not totally debilitated...it is rough and i get the same thing...people telling me i cant blame certain things on the head injury...anyways...i plan on learning craniosacral and volunteering at brain injury society...of which my city is so lucky to have. So far this therapy has been the only thing to at least temporarily give me releif from head pressure..pain etc! Hold on to hope and be gentle and patient. Let your life be healing and kind to you. Protect yourself, care for yourself...because u cant expect that others will be there for u when u need them the most!

On July 27, 2013, I was broad-sided while driving my boyfriend's pick up. I was lifelined to Indianapolis, with three brain bleeds, fractured wrist, torn rotator cuff, fractured cheek and countless abrasions. I was intubated in the helicopter as I wasn't breathing on my own, which has lead to complications resulting in two surgeries to my vocal cords. I was in a coma for three days, in icu for three weeks, then sent to a rehabilitation hospital. I have no memory of the accident or most of the rehab. I was a cardiac monitor tech, vocalist, and artist. A portion of my injuries were frontal lobe, and as such, I seem to have lost the desire to create. I have proprioseptive sensory feedback disorder with my left leg. Where I think I'm stepping isn't where my foot ends up. Because of this, I broke my ankle, and fall and stumble A lot. I have double vision, and trouble with number sequences and judging time. Also, I tend to start writing a word and realize that I didn't write the first letter. That happens a lot. Stairs are always a risk, and take a lot of concentration. My family is amazing, but they lose patience with me and assume that I should be recovered by now. I hear things like, you can't use that as an excuse for everything....and....you can't blame that on the injury. I have wrestled leg syndrome that keeps me from sleeping. If I don't take a sleeping pill and rotoperole for my leg, I would easily stay awake for 48 hrs. I have days where I've taken all of my meds, gotten a good night's sleep, and still, around mid afternoon, feel so exhausted, as though each cell in my body has nothing left to give. I'm 50 years old now. I've never had to ask for help or handouts. I was the family's go- to person. ( A fixer and helper) Now, I have no job, no money, and life as I knew it is over. I've lost my home that I was buying on contract for 10 years, my boyfriend, career...you name it. Positive reinforcement is key to each of us finding our way. With a TB I, there is no room for criticism and pointing out short comings. What family and friends need to remember is that what seems normal or easy or mundane, may be big accomplishments to us! Let us have those achievements that everyone else takes for granted. I know that God has a plan, though I can't see it yet.

it wasn't l last night i decided to do some research on head trauma. When i was seven i had bleeding on left temporal lobe, from a baseball that was hit by a much older kid. I didn't say or do anything about it till the next day when i couldn't talk correctly, I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I'm 21 now and i do have anxiety, depression randomly, and communication /social problems. In school some yrs i remember i did fine academically and social but mostly iv had horrible anxiety in big group situations or socializing and going to lunch. Academically i did fine except maybe a couple yrs but i did have trouble comprehending what i read, but now i think "what if" what if i never had a TBI, how good in school i would of done. Anyways, Not thinking about my TBI till last night i always thought that's just how i was, a person who does better alone and cant socialize well. Iv gotten a lot better with socializing somewhat but its like a chore. I get depressed about my life situations and other peoples well being and it just drags my motivation down, but then i will also be happy and motivated in the same day wondering why i cant be happy like this all the time. My vocabulary seems to be worsening and also my depression, but there is a lot of stress with a baby momma and family situations but i just try to stay positive! And in my opinion exercise helps a lot i've been into weight lifting sense i was 12 and when i quit i seem to get worse. Finally, i have one question that i would like an answer too. Could high school football of made my symptoms worsen?

I must've been about 3, in 1986, when my sister was working on a school project and was left to babysit me. Anyhow, she left me alone in the house and I wandered out into the street when a suburban hit me head first and supposedly I landed about 5-10 feet from the initial spot of the hit. I'm now 33 years old, I am a male, and I was just wondering. Could that be the reason why I experience high level of depression and impulsivity? I generally do things without fully realizing consequences and I don't mean to, I just do. Anyone recommending anything I can do? I can't live life like this anymore.

I was a shaken baby. My mother shook me off and on from when I was two until I was ten or eleven. I don't know how often because my memory is full of holes. My sisters used to call them "the shakings," so they must have happened with some frequency. I'm now fifty-four years old and have spent most of my life in counseling and dealing with severe depression and PTSD. My mother died last year, which set off a whole new set of emotional issues, but I'm getting better. I'm not depressed very often, and when I am, it doesn't swallow me up whole anymore. I work as a college professor and have raised a son who's now in college. I think some of my symptoms are getting worse, but I'm not sure because I can't really remember how they used to be. I found a journal entry that I wrote twenty years ago about how frustrated I was when I couldn't remember words. I still struggle with that. I'm face blind, I have trouble telling time, I can get lost on my way to work, and I have fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain, but it's usually pretty well controlled. Sometimes, I feel guilty that I'm doing so well when most shaken babies either don't make it or have much worse problems. So yes, it can get better. I'll never be the person I would have been without brain injury, but most days are pretty good now.

I had had a bicycle accident in 96' a mac truck hit me and I hit the tree head first going 30 to 35 mph when I hit the tree. I had several skull fractures, broke the bone below my eye had broken the lower part of my nose and 2 collapsed lungs and split my carotid artery which made me have a major stroke. The doctors said I would never walk or talk again and that I would have grand mall seizers. I am walking and talking and have never had a grand mall seizer.

I had an accident similar to the first poster in 1989 I was 19 and crashed more or less head-on into a concrete aqueduct at 55 mph. I was lucky in that I had no broken bones other than my nose, which was demolished. I also had a concussion that kept me drifting in and out of consciousness for I guess several days. Now in my 40s it's becoming clearer and clearer than my brain is not aging well. I have worsening problems with attention (or more correctly, hyperfocus) and have a really really hard time transitioning between activities. I also have trouble making a plan and following though for simples like getting dinner ready or preparing to go shopping. When reading or speaking, my tongue sometimes feels like I don't have complete control of it. And I have a very difficult time organizing my speech when I'm trying to make a point - people have to wait for me to work my way through to it and I can't sustain linear thinking. Additionally, I'm struggling with lightheadedness, smelling phantom smells, and very frequent migraines. Doctors I've seen seen skeptical that my head injury having occurred so long ago could be linked to these issue. I'm not sure how to get matters looked into more closely.

I suffered a severe TBI 15 years ago and was unconscious for, 2 months... my memory is still horrible... what can be done I'm just getting worse as I age

My name is Caroline and this is what has happened to me: July 2, 1999 I got off work, working at the mall, at noon I was driving to my friends house. I was very stressed out and I blacked out for a moment. I was driving on 695 taking exit rt 70. When my 3 week, first car that was brand new hit 4 other cars spun around and hit fifth car and flipped over. Helicopter came and took me to shock trauma. I was there for 20 days. Then transferred to Kernan hospital to traumatic brain injury unit and stayed for 3 months. Coma for 40 days. My memory is horrible, can't remember a thing. My math skills are almost non existent. I broke my neck my c2, left collar bone and Left arm. I have trouble holding up my head, driving or doing anything with my upper body is very painful. My muscles have become torn, scarred and weak. My Spleen busted and they cut my whole mid section open and then stapled me shut with 24 big staples. For some reason now I don't get the feeling of being hungry or full. I don't think I digest well either. My brain bled so they drilled a hole on my head. My head hurts all the time. Im very dizzy also can't sleep anymore. I couldn't breath so they made hole on my neck. I was left with my left vocal cord being retarded. I cant yell or laugh or sing or talk sometimes. I was tube fed for 3 .5 months and my muscles in my mouth are very weak and I have trouble chewing. Drinking water is painful because I choke on the water often, goes down the wrong pipe. Also have a very hard time getting it back out. Whole body got very weak and I lost all my muscles. I went from being a very healthy and outgoing 95 lbs to 79 lbs. nothing left but bones. I have no balance I'm still in alot of pain, no endurance and no coordination. Summary is: I cannot sit, stand, walk or lay down without pain. They let me graduate high school attending only the last 6 months of my senior yr. Since then I moved out in 2001 and moved around alot. I haven't had a doctor or insurance for the first 10 yrs. It's a struggle getting by day by day. Mentally emotionally and physically. I am permanently handicapped. I have anxiety, depression and ptsd. I pray and stay positive because I know God has great plans for me. I'm his soldier in boot camp being prepared for a great fight. I have gotten a neuro psych eval and found out I am better than 50% of my peers! I'm in tons of pain and that may never go away. But I fight hard and when I do I do get better results. We will never recover. And that's ok. I think we were meant for better things. I don't believe I will be able to have children but that's ok too. Sometimes we just have to find ways to help ourselves and live best we can. We can live to give people struggling hope. I'm starting to see that I can help and aide people I meet because I have so many experiences. Don't give up. This is just the beginning. But soon it's getting better.

I suffered a TBI when I was 14, I am 41 now. To the guy that wrote on and on about his injury and how he feels and behaves even now 28 yrs later, I am feeling the same way about my injury and yes it was very bad for me in my early injury years, seemed ok for a little bit, but now it feels very bad to me again. I deal with anger, depression, anxiety, PTSD(very hard for me to be a passenger in a car, brings on heart-stopping panic attacks), sadness, feeling useless, I could go on and on about it too, but I ask myself daily why did they have to save me....death would have been so much better/easier than having to deal with ALL the conflicting emotions that having a traumatic brain injury bring with them.

Hi very glad I came across this. Around the same time n 1987 I too suffered a traumatic frontal lobe brain injury. I was 13 and didn't understand much about it. I was in an induced coma for two days then released 5 days later. Neuro followed me for one year the. That was that. My mom used to laugh about how one minute I was flying off walls then moody. My behavior growing up and and adulthood were sexually pernicious and I took stupid chances. Never anything that made me think I was more just fun crazy. Now at 47, married three kids, my I've been was diagnosed with severe ADHD at 44 and last year suffered a complete breakdown. 5 hospitalizations. My husband does not understand and makes it muc worse. I'm looking for anyone doing research on old TBI and effects later. Please anyone reading help if u can? Desperate Mom

I had a TBI when I was 7. Nowhere near the severity of some of the folks posting here. I hit my head on the road after falling from a bike while trying to do a stunt. I was unconscious for 24 hrs. When I woke up & it was like nothing ever happened except for the big scrape on my face. Except now I'm wondering if some of the problems I encounter are subtle effects of that injury, e.g., attention deficits, repeating things & being unable to stop myself, impulsiveness. The accident happened nearly 40 yrs ago & I'm just starting to figure this stuff out. My heart goes out to everyone who's had such serious injuries.

I was in a severe car accident in 88. I was a passenger and we hit a concrete, steel reinforced box culvert breaking the concrete.  I hit my face/head into the windshield at 95 mph, flipped in the air and landed in a deep drainage ditch.  My face was destroyed, 250 stitches, nose and eyelid were gone and other lacerations, some were deep. Broken right lower leg, crushed left heel and ankle, broken pelvis, ribs, torn rotator cuff, almost cut my right arm off, broken teeth, back and neck injuries, torn aorta, half of my left lung removed and more.  After 18 hrs of surgery and 8 doctors working on me I was left in a coma for 2 wks.  That was the 2nd of 5 car accidents in which I was not driving except for 1.  Head injuries in 3 of them.  This was the very worst.  I had no idea what had happened, I remember nothing.  When I awoke 2 weeks later I was so confused, they taught me how to walk and use a sliding board and sent me home.  I would laugh at sad things or at my Mom and brothers embarrassment. I could not control it at all.  Even laughed at my dear Grandmother's funeral a year later.  I simply could not control my emotions. I couldn't understand why God saved me, I was 1 out of 1000 that survive a torn aorta and the only 1 of 2 in the hospitals history to survive.  Why me?  Everyone was saying it was a miracle.  I didn't grasp the seriousness of it.  Once I was feeling better I started drinking and going out, taking risky chances, very risky like driving at very high speeds, promiscuous and I didn't care.  I gave it up in '04 after the death of my dear Mom. Here I am after 2 relationships all alone and fear relationships because I fly off the handle, argue with anyone and everyone I disagree with.  Sometimes I can't feel emotions, I know I should feel sad, or happy but I'm numb, it's an awful feeling. There are times when I cannot remember something I just read and reread it to no avail, or what I'm reading looks like heiroglyphics, and my memory goes completely blank and can't think of certain words and I lose my ability to spell words, simple ones and have to use google to spell, it's very odd.  I feel that I'll be alone forever, I live in an apt all alone, I fall all the time, recently fell and fractured my back.  Sometimes everything seems so loud and my head just spins if I'm thinking of more than one thing, my attention span is shot,  I don't want to bring someone into my life of hell.  No one suggested or even talked to me about my feelings after the accident, no counseling, nothing.  It was like ok, you're alive, see you later and good luck.  I had suffered from depression since I was a teen and in 04 I attempted suicide, like was too difficult for me to handle.  I couldn't handle the pain of doing my job as a phlebotomist, a job I dearly loved, my Mom was terminal and I was taking care of her, ended an engagement because of my anger and fighting and bizarre things I did.  I had difficulties with my brothers and attacked one, I would fight with them even attacked one, my temper is horrible. I've responded to arguments with my sis and cousin in a hateful nasty way that I'm so ashamed of and they didn't speak to me for 2 yrs recently.  I just want to be like everyone else. I cry often and feel unlovable and totally useless.  I wonder what my purpose is, nothing IMO.  My memory is horrible, it takes me forever to tell a story, I can't remember certain things that happened yrs ago, I've forgotten people, my kids get so irritated with me that I don't even want to talk because I repeatedly ask questions and forget that I had already asked.  They get upset and tell me to stop and that I'm just not paying attention, which hurts.  My son tells me I can get a job at a desk, I tried that and it didn't work out, I forgot how to type a formal letter one time, it took me 3 hrs and it still wasn't right and I was let go shortly after.  I used to be so social, even back in 04 and now I'm a hermit, afraid to hang out with people so I communicate through the phone and computer.  I feel dead inside. I feel so alone and misunderstood.  I'm scared I am going crazy and will wind up in a nursing home, my brother has mentioned it because of all of my falls.  I blew up on him and told him he better never do that to me.  I wonder if I have a form of dementia, I do have cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) and it's not good.  Most people do end up with dementia from it, add on the TBI and I'm so scared.  Sorry for the long read, but I'm wondering if anyone else has gotten worse over 28 yrs of a TBI?  Thank You for reading.

I received a TBI as the result of being hit by a car while riding my motorcycle to work 14 years ago. I also incurred damage to my spine resulting in a paralyzed left leg. I was an athlete and a mechanical engineer. I designed and fabricated parts for SPAWAR, NASA, and other government and private entities. When I woke in the hospital I found all of my math processes were gone. I could follow math with someone walking me through it, but on my own, it was just inaccessible. The rug got yanked out from under me in the biggest way. I can no longer do anything I trained to do. My processing speed is slow, I can no longer think on multiple tracks at once, I have limited short term memory. It's like the worst parts of "Flowers for Algernon" because I remember how easy it used to be but even 14 years later I can't find my way back there. It's caused major issues in every aspect of my life. My wife wants me to move forward with my life but disabled, with chronic pain and memory issues the best I can tell is I'm unemployable. Anything that interests me is outside my grasp. I have no idea where I'm supposed to go from here, and all I get are platitudes about not giving up, and pushes toward religion. I need help from someone that's been where I am and made it through the other side.

I'm so sorry to hear that you have a brain injury also. I'll pray for you and your child. It'll be ok. Keep your head up, please.

My nephew who is 14 months old fell from the terrace on 1st floor and fell on his head. His skull is cracked, head is swollen, he is fatigued and keeps falling asleep, he vomits continuously every few hours and his left side of body is responding slow. Is there any way he will be able to live a normal life. He was very hyper, and ran around a lot always trying to talk. Now he is the opposite just tired all the time. The injury happened 2 days ago.

That was simply amazing. You told it like it is. I tore the left frontal lobe brain and severe bleeding on my brain however I did think every person with a TBI had seizures. Guess I was wrong. I hate my change in mood now. My psychiatrist has me on 6 different pills. I go from angry to anxiety to worry about every single thing and then the next minute happy again too fast. It's like my brain is moving so fast. How can I slow it down? It causes me problems. Would you mind if we speak via email?

I sympathize with you. I was reading what was on the internet because my daughter had a brain bleed when she was 4 and is now 28. And I'm worried. You should go to a good Dr and get that cat scan and tell them what you wrote here. Good luck and get well. I know you can do it J

Hi, yes, I'm searching for info with others maybe in a similar situation. I wonder how my thinking has been affected? Unlucky in misdiagnoses for a long time despite coma. I found neuropsychologist the best help but have so many worries regarding quality of self after, but I have to accept I am as I am now. Such a loss but working on the good bits and bad. Tough call.

I'm diagnosed with PTSD/anxiety after an assault and head injury at work.  Now, my thoughts repeat and review a memory centered on being beaten over the head with a brick by a boy when I was 5 years old.  I also have memory of sexual assault at age 5, and sexual behaviors which may have been the reason I got beat by the boy with a brick!  I think I had a concussion at 5 yrs old, and a TBI, because I went through emotional symptoms like an anxiety disorder, and I couldn't learn.  I was irritable "always crying", angry, moody, learning disabilities, unable to read or communicate fluidly, and my mom was angry at me for it.  None of this was ever brought up with my Dr., or critically looked at by my mother.  I developed inner ear aches, and missed a 1/2 year of 2nd grade. My memory informs me that my injuries were not healed adequately because I lived my life with social anxieties, early onset substance abuse, learning disabilities and eating disorders.  And now, at 48, I have PTSD, no job to return to and difficulty learning new skills.  I’m stuck rationalizing and normalizing my behaviors and life path.  I am experiencing great internal conflict in my relationships with difficulty focus on a plan to get back to work.  I'm jumpy and unfocused.

Generally my life has been a struggle and a grind.  I've never acknowledged the difficulties I experienced as a child, as though "denial" my family's coping mechanism, would make it better.  Now, I'm looking at the assault with the brick as the root to my problems, but it doesn't matter at all. I need to get over my sensitivities, anxieties and difficulties - heal and go back to work. 

When I was 10 years old I suffered a subdural hematoma. I am now 41 years old. I was in a coma for 3 days my parents were told that I would have to learn how to read write walked off again I never had any of those problems. My life changed a lot I was very aggressive and mood swings lot of fights my school work was less than average when I was very capable of carrying a straight-A average. I had a hard time focusing my parents took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with add. My parents came from the old school did not believe that I'm just thought it was my attitude so I was not treated for it. Now after reading some of these articles on 41 years old I cannot stay on task and anything I do my mind is always racing thinking about 10 different things at once. I still have a lot of aggression and for no real reason add is worse than it ever has been I also have become very unmotivated to the point of laziness and I am not a lazy person I just do not have the energy or the desire to do things that I know I need to do. I've never had an MRI and Cat Scan sense my operation and I was a life-threatening operation they actually had to bring me back my skull was crushed can I have had many concussions to my life over 10. I am just wondering if any of this has anything to do with my traumatic brain injury what I am I just truly destined to feel and look like a loser. I've had beautiful houses is marriage with a beautiful daughter that divorce massive depression which put me back in an aggressive confrontational state. I just want to live my life without my my always racing barely sleeping but always tired and unmotivated. I just want to know if any of these things can be reversed cuz it seems like the older I get the worse all the symptoms get. I recently also had a seizure my parents look at me like I'm a failure I was talking with someone the other day and they said if you go back and be any age you could be what would you be everyone's answers were 16 18 I said 9 to see if I would be somewhere different in my life. I'm to the point where I don't really care about anything set my daughter I recently lost my job my insurance I'm just at a point with no answers and I need help. Everyone thinks I'm just lazy and I'm a good Father but that's about the only thing I'm good at. I just don't see my life going anywhere if all my symptoms are just getting worse. I've never discussed the traumatic brain injury with my phone because they would just send it I'm using it as an excuse for my problem but I really feel that that day changed my life. New Hampshire region everything on this article and a lot of other articles all the symptoms they fit me like a glove I'm afraid because all they're doing is getting worse. I don't know if anyone can come up all these post but if you could and you have any information that could help me I would be more than appreciative I just feel lost and confused and I don't have family that I can ask for advice or help they would just say I'm making excuses. Sincerely confused and lost!

I suffer from a TBI due to a gunshot, .357 to the back of my head, point blank by my late husband. I spent weeks in the hospital learning to walk and talk all over again. Initially I went through much rehab, but then they said I was fine. I thought I was. The last 24 months I have had migraines, balance issues so much I have broken an ankle and both wrists and shattered my humorous and shoulder just 9 weeks ago. I am fatigued all the time and I have a hard time remembering, I have to write everything down. I did great in the beginning. but my seizures have increased and my balance is so off I started using a cane. I'm only 50, so I cant go on disability and I am the breadwinner, so I have to keep working. I just missed 8 weeks of work and its killing us. Is there any organization that can help? I want to feel "normal" again. 

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