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

Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia
What Impact Will Moderate or Severe TBI Have on a Person's Life?

The effects of moderate to severe TBI can be long lasting or even permanent. While recovery and rehabilitation are possible, most people with moderate to severe TBI face life challenges that will require them to adapt and adjust to a new reality.

Moderate to severe TBI can cause permanent physical or mental disability. Because polytrauma is common with moderate to severe TBI, many patients face additional disabilities as a result of other injuries. Even patients who appear to recover fully may have some long-term symptoms that never go away.

Challenges with work and completing tasks that were once routine can be much more difficult than before the injury. Some patients find that the skills and abilities that they used before the injury to meet these challenges are not as sharp as they once were.

These ongoing challenges can also affect the patient’s personal life. People who have experienced brain injuries may take longer to do cognitive or “thinking” tasks associated with memory, such as coming up with the correct change in the checkout line at the grocery store or placing an order at a restaurant. Family relationships will almost certainly change, and in some cases the patient will be totally dependent on their caregivers.

Despite the advances in early diagnosis and treatment of moderate to severe TBI, the fact remains that traumatic brain injury will be a life-changing experience for many patients. Helping the patient, family members, and caregivers to cope with these long-term consequences is an important part of TBI rehabilitation.

Motor Deficits and Disabilities

For many patients, the damage to the brain resulting from a moderate to severe TBI may lead to life-long disabilities or motor deficits. The term disability in relationship to TBI means a loss of physical or mental function caused by damage to the brain. Motor deficits refer specifically to the effect of damage on motor skills or movement.

Examples of disabilities and motor deficits caused by moderate to severe TBI include:

  • Paralysis
  • Spasticity (muscle stiffness) or uncontrolled movements
  • Problems walking, talking, or swallowing
  • Difficulty carrying or moving objects
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of fine motor skills, such as buttoning a shirt
  • Inability to recognize something based on touch
  • Difficulty thinking and remembering
  • Difficulty with social relationships

Other challenges that a patient with moderate or severe TBI may experience include:

  • Difficulty making and keeping personal and professional relationships
  • Difficulty being part of social activities
  • Difficulty taking part in recreational or leisure activities
  • The decreased ability or inability to keep a job or go to school

During the rehabilitation and transition phases of TBI treatment, members of the healthcare team will provide information to the patient and their family members about dealing with these issues. Specific tools and coping strategies will be suggested. Examples of coping strategies and tools include:

  • Writing a detailed list of steps needed to complete a task
  • Using prompts or visual aids to help remember things
  • Using assistive devices to move around, such as a walker or a wheelchair

Learning new ways to do things is a very important part of recovery.

Other Potential Effects

The long-term symptoms of TBI can be divided into several categories, including physical changes, cognitive effects, sensory effects, perceptual effects, social-emotional changes, and others. You’ll find a partial list of these symptoms and possible effects below. Keep in mind that the severity and duration of symptoms and effects will vary greatly from one patient to another, depending on the severity of the TBI.

Physical effects

  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of stamina (easily fatigued)
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Physical paralysis or spasticity
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of control of bowel and bladder functions
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Hormonal changes

Cognitive effects

  • Difficulty with attention, focus, or concentration
  • Distractibility
  • Memory problems
  • Slow speed of processing
  • Confusion
  • Perseveration, which is the abnormal persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulty with language processing
  • Problems with executive functions, which include planning, cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking, rule acquisition (determining right from wrong), initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions

Speech and language effects

  • Aphasia (difficulty with talking or expressing ideas, understanding everyday language, and problems with reading and writing). Types of aphasia can include:
    • Receptive aphasia, which involves difficulty understanding the spoken word, or
    • Expressive aphasia, which means the patient knows what they wish to say but is unable to get the words out. In some cases, the patient is able to perceive and comprehend both spoken and written language, but is unable to repeat what they see or hear.
  • Slurred speech
  • Speaking very fast or very slow
  • Problems with reading comprehension

Sensory and perceptual effects

  • Difficulty recognizing and distinguishing between touch and pressure sensations
  • Difficulty perceiving temperature
  • Difficulty perceiving movement and positions of the arms and legs
  • Difficulty with fine discrimination (for example, distinguishing between small everyday objects, like coins)
  • Difficulty integrating and understanding information gained through the five senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste)

Effects on vision

  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Diplopia, which is weakness of eye muscles that causes double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Problems judging distance
  • Involuntary eye movements, called nystagmus
  • Photophobia, which is intolerance of light

Effects on hearing

  • Decrease or loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears
  • Increased sensitivity or intolerance to sounds

Effects on smell and taste

  • Anosmia, which is loss of or diminished sense of smell
  • Loss of or diminished sense of taste
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Social-emotional or behavioral effects

  • Dependent behaviors
  • Fluctuating emotions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Denial or lack of awareness
Posted on BrainLine August 9, 2018. Reviewed March 28, 2019.

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The Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia (CEMM) is a dynamic initiative from the Office of the Surgeon General, supplying award-winning interactive multimedia for patient education throughout the Military Health System.

Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia. (n.d.). Moderate to Severe TBI: Long-Term Effects. Retrieved March 28, 2019, from https://tbi.cemmlibrary.org/Moderate-to-Severe-TBI/Long-Term-Effects

Comments (643)

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.

I've received a T.B.I. approx. 10 year ago, what a serious lifestyle change this was! What I miss mostly is my kind, beautiful partner along with the fact that I'm no longer able to work, lost my houses, the ability to walk, my vehicles, my long sought after sweet job as a union electrical worker, I'm no longer able to make any sense of time, I may have lost most not everything but most of what I'd worked towards getting what I didn't loose is my ability to be an understanding, open kinda guy! THANK GOODNESS I'm still able to think, react and understand most of whatever I'm exposed to!
My new goal in life is going to spread the feeling of love, understanding and security!

I was about 4 going on 5 when I had my brain injury I was on a queen bed and fell off while sleeping and hit the concrete we was in the middle of redueing are floors in are house and I remember siting on the floor crying for help and it felt like hours until my grandma came in the room and got me she just thought I was having a bad dream so she took me to her room to go back to sleep only to be woken up about 10 times of me puking in her bed so she thought I had a stomach bug still to this day I don't remember why I didn't tell them I fell I guess I lost conscious and don't remember what happend so I stayed home that day since they thought I was sick but my mom said she had a weird feeling in her gut to take me to the docter that's when we got into the office and right away he asked my mom to turn off the lights and that's when he saw it my eyes wasn't dilating and he told my mom to rush me to the hospital something is very wrong and that's when they felt my head and I had a big knot and i remember my mom asking if I hit my head and at that point I didn't even know so she took me to the hospital and they ran an MRI and said I needed to go have surgery right away I had an epidural hematoma and I didn't have long to make it if they didn't start right away . So they let my family know that I might not make it or if I did I would be a vegetable for life but the next day I woke up and eveything was fine I wanted some makeup and some clothes so they knew I was okay but a few years later I started having eye trouble woke up and my eyes were crossed i had excellent vision before and out of nowhere my eyes took a change and then years later I started having very bad migraines to where it would be 2-3 a day I couldn't even go about my day because they were so awful and the weird part is the only place that hurts when I have them is on my side of my head where I had the surgery same spot and all and now I'm 24 still suffering from them but lately I have been dealing with memory loss , extreme PTSD , anxiety , ocd , I have very bad social skills , which I have never had before I've always wondered if I would have any problems down the road after having a severe brain accident .

My son had a very hard blow to the head from a hard object on July 19 it is sept the 8 and he is just now waking up. He can’t talk eat or walk .All of his body muscle is gone I’m really concern about him . Will he ever recover and do you think having family members around him now will help him remember things. Cause right now he rembers nothing except 3 people but when he goes back to sleep for 15 min he forgets

Have patience, as the brain can reestablish neuronal connections through a multitude of synapses.
In general terms ( rewire itself).
I can provide you with some encouragement, as I and several of my close friends where in a severe car accident 21 years ago.
Myself, and the 2 others whom lived, all sustained TBI's , months had past until a recovery was established.... the extent of recovery is unknown to all individuals who sustain a TBI, but I will say that with diligent rehabilitation, and positive thoughts and regulated diet. It is achievable.
I have learned to walk, talk again, and have recovered to the extent to own, operate a construction company.
A multitudes of " triggers" may hinder the daily conditions with a TBI, but supportive, patient friend's and family can to wonders.
I wish you the best.

My heart goes out to your son and family. I'm sure he appreciates you all being there. Family is everything with injuries like so. There is no time frame to give, his body must heal on his own, and that is not something anyone could know, right now. He remembers three people, which seems to be a good sign. My prayers go out to you and your family.

The double vision from the TBI isn't caused by weakness of the eye but rather from one of the eyes being rotated. At least that is what it is in my case. One of my eyes rotated 5 degrees from my head injury. I had a brain stem injury.

The optic nerve was damaged.

Summer beak just started two days ago. I was 13 and graduated from the 7th grade. I went to my best friend's house, and we decided to go on a bike ride to get ice cream. The helmet my friend gave me broke, so I put it back in the garage, and started riding my bike down the street. Tim, my best friend at the time, came up behind me holding the helmet. His dad just got home and just happened to have the part to fix the helmet. I put the helmet on, and we went on our way. We started going down a steep hill, riding on the sidewalk. Unbeknownst to me, ahead of me the sidewalk was cracked, and the two cracked parts pushed together which made an A shaped wall on thes sidewalk. I hit the concrete with my front tire, and the bike flipped me and smashed the top of my head on the concrete. I blacked out for a few minutes, and when I came to I couldn't talk for about 3 minutes. When I did talk it sounded like I was mentally challenged, and the words themselves made no sense (according to my 3 friends). I never went to the hospital because we didn't want to tell anyone so we could all still go to summer camp. I don't remember much about that summer, except for the anxiety and headaches that started. I only made it through half of the 8th grade, I just couldn't do it. My math grade in the 7th grade was exactly 100%, after the concussion the numbers and lines were completely abstract to me, it was like learning Russian while being spun around. I quit the 8th grade and had to be homeschooled. I went to a regular high school (thank God) but it was a struggle. The anxiety and brainfog made it very difficult. I am 32 now, still living withmy parents, and I am unable to drive. My anxiety pulsates throughout my entire being second by second. I can't think, and I had to start taking Adderall and Ativan, which hardly do anything to help me. I am very blessed that my friend brought me my helmet, I believe I would be dead, or partially if not totally paralized had I not worn the helmet. I was an exceptionally intelligent child, who taught himself to play the piano at 4, and was reading 4 books a month by the 3rd grade. I wanted to be an inventor, but I could have been anything I wanted. Thankfully I have an online business, and my wonderful parents. I feel like a part of me died that day. I never cried about it, but writing this and thinking about it in this way is making me cry. I am just now coming to the realization that I will never be the same again.

Hey Bro Can We Talk Something about this a little bit


My dad is currently in the acute ward trying his best to recover. He fell on 12 May and he is 67 years old suffered a severe TBI. He is currently at GSC 12 but he isn't engaging enough with the stuff to be able to be accepted into rehab so they are pressuring me to take him out and place him in a nursing home.
I feel like I am being rushed to take my father out of the ward and they are telling me things that it doesn't look promising him engaging and understanding.
I am trying my best to fight for him and I have heard from many other people and drs that some people just take longer and need more time. I am trying to buy him more time but as mentioned before they are telling me he would be better off going to a nursing home.

Does anyone have any advice on your experiences on what to do?
His GSC score only went up again today to a 12 so is this a good sign that he might be slowing becoming more and more alert?

He has a peg tube as he had a trachy for a while so now he has issues swallowing a bit.
thats the only thing he has. everything else is stable.

thank you


Contact a firm called Laura slader ot who specializes in tbi rehabilitation they have been fantastic and have and are still helping my partner.
I cannot recommend them highly enough. They have given my partner and I hope for the future. Speak to them they are a god send

Well glad I ran into this blog of posts, I had a horrific fall backwards down the basement steps & hit my head on the Steel pole that holds up the I beem in 1/14/08. Ended my Career as a Circuit Design Engineer! They didn't do brain surgery until Feb 08. Not sure why so long. Completed 6 months of rehab (all aspects). After that both shoulder surgeries, both knees, back ,throat, left foot & more, just can't remember all of it. I was just 46 when that happened & now I'm 59. I've had ongoing medical problems ever since. 2nd Brain surgery was on Sandy Hook day ( when shooter killed all those kids back east) I had been watching it all day & got up to eat, fell dusty & hit my head on the Glass dining table. I tell ya! So far I've had 5 brain bleeds, 2 brain surgeries & 14 other surgeries. I have learned to know that the person I am now is not the same person before the original Accident. None of my Family or my only Son think nothing's wrong with me. OMG! I just wish they could walk in my shoes for one month & experience the Stamina problems, medical Bill's, medications & the lack of help needed. Oh, I too was arrested & charged with resisting arrest due to my left side is weak. The Lawyer handled that & 20K. My Family treated me as though I was a DUI person. So sad!. I continuously go to the Gym, keep busy & walk my doggie. Life has changed & it was difficult to go from 150K a month to 1,590 a month. Just wanted to share my story (some of it) , I'm Grateful to be alive! I thank God every day. Stay positive & keep moving forward. I use the old saying from my Mom.... Pull your boot straps up & keep going.
Idol time is death time & I know that is NOT for me. (Yet).
Stay Strong everyone. The new life really is not so bad.

I was severely beaten 17 years ago… still have a permanent knot on my forehead, near hairline, top right side. Since then, I’ve acquired this “stutter/tongue jerk”, and it’s almost as if my brain glitches. I’m beginning to experience difficulties with comprehension of spoken word. Could this be a TBI? My abuser never let me see a doctor, so I’ve never had it checked. Is it too late for doctors to tell via imaging if I’ve suffered a TBI?

one day my friend hit me one the left side between parital and frontal lobe may be that was parital lobe now i have headache so how long i will face with headache

Went over a 4 to 7½ story cliff. Coma for 17 days. The prognosis wasn't good. Organ donation people were want to harvest organs as soon as I passed. At that point it was than 10% chance to live.
Did not self evaluate for ten years. After 25 years I finally was able to put it behind me. That's when I had reached 100% recovery.

Congratulations on your physical recovery, emotional growth, and ability to forgive. I'm sure that if you choose to share more about your journey to recovery and being able to "put it behind you" it would be an encouragement to others.

I need your help, Son has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, Glasgow coma was catastrophic, has had excellent recovery vs doctors prognosis.
MVA was 2005, has become aggressive towards all, etc. know what I mean?

Sorry to hear
You need an urgent psychiatric referral
Medication can help
Anti epileptics good for mood and short term drugs
Experienced this with husband
He needs to avoid alcohol at all costs
Addiction is common post head injury
Cause more severe aggression

Was in mva 2004 at 18, brain hemorrhage, coma for several days. I have extreme aggressive periods, overwhelming emotions, difficulty finishing assigned tasks. Haven't had MRI since TBI. Doctor said my memory and nerve damage would heal in 3 years. Not sure it has..

Scott , what you have described sounds almost exactly like my story the dates and everything. I was in a bad wreck when I was 18 it was about 2002 and then another in 2004 both of which resulted in brain injury and I felt fine and was just ready to get back to work and didn't go to rehab but the doctors suggested and I ignored because I felt fine and I didn't need that I thought but all these years and all this time later I have not being able to hold a job for more than a year so and my life has just gone to s***. Lots of things seem normal to most people are very difficult for me. I have been isolating from family and I have tried everything well I guess not everything I've tried lots of things but nothing seems to change only get worse. I'm trying to figure out if these brain injuries are what has caused all this crap in my life for all these years without me realizing it because I didn't feel like I was hurt or sick or disabled I felt like I was just like anyone else and I didn't even think about the brain injuries for many years and I'm just now starting to look into the stuff and it seems like it is an exact description of how my life has been and things I have faced. My question to you is what did you do? How did you or are you getting this resolved? Is it possible to resolve?

This is great information for clarity. Had a mild tbi injury 8 years ago falling off a cliff at a beach 30-35 feet. Have struggled with extreme anxiety , emotional issues, depression and a loss of all previous relationships from before the accident. No one really understands and I don’t either half the time. I am constantly driving my wife crazy with my up and down feelings. And have almost completely feel divided from my family. I often forget that my injury could be the cause of all this. Reading this makes me realize I am not alone in feeling this way. Thanks

Thank you , you said everything I feel and then some. ❤

As a parent of Jake at 16 yrs post-injury TBI cat diagnosis my heart is open for all
Love Joseph

You're not alone.

Hi Ted. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I am also dealing with a tbi injury ... you are so not alone, and I am grateful to you because just by writing to you I also feel that I am not alone. Our brains may have taken a hit, but our Hearts are what matter the most. Please take good care of yourself. You are precious. We are all precious.

I suffered a TBI 16 years ago I still feel like I have problems I just have to try harder at everything it takes me a little longer sometimes to identify different size pipe that looks close . I find my emotions go up and down as well unfortunately I seem to do best living on my own and not be dependent on anyone /cleaning/cooking less stress lower anxiety and recently stopped drinking coffee every morning Wich lowered my anxiety massively . I was a teenager when my car accident happened . Reading the side effects I feel lucky to have overcome alot of them but a some
Are a problem every day learning new things, understanding and problem solving can be frustrating resulting in frustration and low self esteem .

I wish we could all get together to explore the reality of the future
Love Joseph

All getting together to explore realities of our future sounds lk coul be an amazing weekend retreat. Like meet at a halfway spot, or central point between states/cities. Tbi severe 2008, total life changed: mental, cognitive, communication speaking & written (which were my strongest abilities & talents) can spontaneously disappear into a fog, emotional, physical, career, financial, life style, family, friends - crashed & burned. Resetting everything took-and ongoing- major work: spiritual faith, new personal support system, immediate medical support system, rehab system treatment was, still is, total God send miracle. Still grieving some pre-TBI life, established corporate career, long term life partner relationship, financial freedom, socialization. But unexpected fulfilling new talents & abilities have emerged, allowing me 2 make a decent living. Would love to get together share, give & receive new hope & strength. Blessings & love.

Thanks for the information you have provided through your blog.

Hi where do I start?
On the 31st of December 1988 I was hit very hard with a baseball bat on the left side of my head, it caused concussion and a loss of lots of blood, I was taken to hospital but remained awake throughout, I thought that was the end of it, I was 20 at the time and very fit and healthy.
Sadly a little while later I noticed small problems with things like vision, sleep, concentration, anxiety, and other things I had never noticed before.
I never once tied it to the head injury, and just carried on with life, but sadly my health deteriorated over the years, I have now been married 4 times, lost so many jobs, could not drive over high bridges and cannot fly anymore, when I used to fly all the time.
I am now 52 and fully housebound, having had what I call false diagnosis i.e. ME/CFS originally back in 1999, I am in so much pain that even morphine made it worse, my head pressure and noise (tinnitus) is horrendous and I worry about my future if I have one.
I have had 2 MRI's in the last 10 years and nothing has been found, but they were looking for vision and brain issues linked to ME/CFS.
Now last week I was seen in Leeds UK by a Neurologist and he some tests, physical ones, holding my head and I was to look at his nose while he quickly turned my head left and right, and jumping on the spot with my eyes closed and arms out, I ended up the other side of the room.
Long story short he said I had a major problem on my righthand side to do with my Ventricular system, so he is sending me for another MRI (anxiety through the roof).
Could my illness be linked to my head injury, the timings make sense, but asking for help is hard here in the UK.
Just to know it wasn't all made up and to say to family and friends I now know what has caused my illness will be the biggest prize, I was so ecstatic when I left the hospital last week I forgot to mention my head injury.
I can relate to so much of what you have written above, it will all be well documented in my medical notes, but with the lack of knowledge here in the UK on TBI's I am fighting an uphill battle.
Any help or advice would be great, thanks Mark

I support you wish for your best outcome moving forward
Love Joseph

Hi Mark, Our story is very similar Oct 1988 - 29 years old very fit, hit by softball bat to the back of the neck - three breaks in neck, brain bleed so they cut a hole in skull frontal left lobe to drain blood and clots ended up with crushed right ear drum, no balance without vision, no directional hearing, and tinnitus in same, massive battles with anxiety, depression, relationships over the years. Doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists a plenty including antidepressants, sleeping pills etc. - no pills now - replaced with over the counter B vitamins for executive stress (decision making) and B6 (mood management)! The best way forward and it took a long time to learn was to understand how we should live life and what life really is - slow everything down and I mean really, really slow things down, learn about breathing techniques a great way to a quite mind, learn about Tao a chinese way of understanding life and us in it, meditation is a great way to de-stress (difficult to get a hold of at first but stay with it) breathing techniques are a great lead up to meditation, learn about living in the herenow - look for Ekhert Tolle, Teal Swan, Krishmurti, Tom Belieu (Tom runs various interviews) and learn about consciousness Rupert Sheldrake

I agree with the slowing life down! I have been trying to do that since my accident 4 years ago. Even before my accident I have always been a busy person, work, family, appointments (myself or kids). Helping friends with their problems and just non stop always on the Go. Now I ask myself what's the rush? There isn't a need to always be on the go or always having to do something. Also finding it really hard to even just sit and watch a movie/relaxing, or just doing nothing is a very hard thing for me to do.
Always makes me think of the country song "I'm in a hurry to get things done, so I rush & rush till life's no fun"...It's very true lol. So trying to be less depressed, have less anxiety and really take the time to enjoy things more instead of rushing thru it all. I am also on anti-depressants, they do seem to work a little. But still depressed, but it's stopped me from crying for NO reason. But I will have to try the vitamins you mentioned!

I am 3yrs into a TBI and I was a nurse now I'm nothing my family does not understand they just think I'm rude and nasty due to personality changes NO ONE gets I struggle everyday to be better and so I guess mostly isolation is best for me so I don't upset anyone. I take meds go to counseling but the old personality is gone, hope everyone handles the changes better than me and my family.for you DONT GIVE UP

I understand your situation. My wife suffered a severe stroke after the delivery of our third child, a healthy baby boy. Subsequently leading to brain damage. She complained about painful head pain after delivery, often stating "she felt like her head would pop or was being pressed". Everyone wrote it off as migraines and or seizures which she suffered from, only to finally realize her brain was hemorrhaging. She continues to go to therapy and experiences highs and lows especially with the limitations of being a mother, a daughter, and a wife. She is often scared, and frequently suffers from PTSD from her bleeding ordeal. Doctors were concerned that she wouldn't make it but, despite being in a coma, left side paralysis, speech and breathing difficulties; she has learned to walk again and jog in place, move her hands and arm, speak clearly, and breathe on her own. Challenges still exist, but that's just a small testament to God's mercy and healing power. Nothing is too small for God! I encourage you to focus on the positive, embrace the future, forget yesterday because tomorrow will be better.

Not Ventricular, vascular or whatever it is called oops

I was involved in a bad motorcycle accident somebody turned right in front of me and I was in a coma for a week and the hospital for 6 weeks, the accident was April 4th 2020 and the entire month of April is gone. I had server TBI and lost hearing in my left ear and balance problems and right side weakness. It's almost been a year but I want to know does eventually everything somewhat get better? I have went thru 'why me' stage and can't drive because police pulled my license. I have physio 2x's a week and chiropractor 1x a week but I'd like to drive again and get back to work. Like 2 weeks ago my right eye started going funny like twitching or 'dancing' so I have an optometrist appointment in 10days..

It will get worse and worse - trust me -more symptoms the more time that goes by and no one knows what to do about it the only things that helped was a functional neurologists. They are the best with the TBI stuff.... god bless

While riding a motorcycle, was hit head on by a drunk in a Dodge Ram in the spring of '94. I was in a coma for 2 months and 18 days (just a couple weeks short of legally dead), rehab for another year and a half (the entire years 1994 and 1995 are gone for me), I have a fake knee and a fake wrist, a "severe" traumatic brain injury, this tinnitus has made me want to rip my left ear off for 26 years... I have been totally and permanently disabled ever since. I walk, I talk (but have been arrested for "slurred speech" - ONCE, I can make A LOT of political noise when I want to - everywhere I've lived since), can't sing, can't dance, I'm not very good at taking orders (short term memory problems, to this day - thank heaven for the hourly calendar on modern smart phones). I had to wait one year before I applied, tested, and received a new NY driver's license (with motorcycle validation - didn't even have to retest for that). My pilot's license is permanently clipped due to having been in a coma. I'm on my third motorcycle since that wonderful event (120,000 miles on one, only 60,000 on the second - that got parked on in 2019, and about 5,000 on my 2019 Harley - I moved to FL so I can ride all year, and my back, etc doesn't ache for 6 months straight). In terms of cognitive function, my reasoning was never really effected (or so I say). My organic memory has not really improved, I thank motorola a/o at+t for the smart phone (it's strange... I speak multiple languages, remember how to do things w/o any problem at all, but... where did I put that? When was that appointment? Yes, I'm sorry to say, 27 years later. Get a head start building those coping strategies. I'd say your balance and hearing issues are probably related. Your eye "dancing" may cause problems w/ your driving, and it may (or may not) be interpreted as a seizure. You might want to see (no pun intended) a neurologist about that. Bring a list of current medications with you, because that could very well be the cause. To directly answer your question, no. EVERYTHING does not get better. However, some things will (probably within the first couple of years). And you will learn/adjust to the rest. I can't think of anything that has actually gotten worse (other than the pain from these metal "bones" that I continue to abuse. But that's my fault. I will NOT grow a set of wheels, I will NOT stop living MY life. I'll just add that "MY life," as I had made it, ended that day. I had to start a new one. You may want to talk to the Brain Injury Association of America at 1-800-444-6443.

Things may or may not get better. I'm not going to lie to you because it won't help. My head injury was 20 years ago and I rolled over in a convertible. I had to work very hard in rehab and got very lucky I was able to heal. My advice work hard and don't quit. You may not become who/what you were before, but you will be better tomorrow than you were today.


TBI Survivor

It’s a long road... I was in a coma for 3 1/2 weeks in 1995. I spent 4 weeks in the hospital. Was transferred to St Charles Rehab on Long Island. I can’t remember exactly how long I was there.. maybe little longer than a month. I then did outpatient cognitive and physical rehab for years afterwards. My short term memory was effected which effects learning. I’m doing well and memory has gotten better. Accept that it will take a long time. Learn to live with changes .

I fell about 10 to 15 ft when I was 8 years old. Don't remember anything but waking up on a picnic table just enough dirt and everybody over me. I never saw a doctor because my mom said I woke up. My sister was with me she was older l she said your man got to me carried me down the Hill that we were on I was out the whole time. Fast forward repeating the rest of my life it's been bad I have battled with major depression, back pain head pain I went to a chiropractor and he noticed vertebrae between my back and neck that healed wrong. Over the years they have told me they have fibromyalgia spinal stenosis, nerve damage in my foot . Now I'm 60 and saw a doctor cuz my depression doctor wanted me to be tested for ADHD which I have been diagnosed maybe 20 years ago with it but they don't treat adults. In my late 40s I was treated for tremors and next doctor 15 years later pulled me off them not that they helped a lot anyways. Now I turned 60 my depression doctor wanted me to see another doctor to rule out AD HD. Well the result s was yes I have it but she says I have other signs which the test s that she ran on me drawing r memory test salon and so forth most of my skills were impaired. She wants me to see i neurologist. I'm so scared I can tell with my friend being damaged but I'm so scared Don't tell me I have Alzheimer's I'm really confused most days my husband chases me I start five projects and then he comes along and finishes on behind. School is very hard for me but I got through it. I have a job at the hospital for 25 years and took an early retirement I'm just confused if this could have been from my fall? The doctor also told this isn't normal aging. I'm terrified what the neurologist will find. Anxiety and scared to death is all I've been over this weekend.

You sound really anxious. Please take a few deep breaths and remember to pray. Turn it over as the anxiety starts to rise. Worrying will only make it worse. I hope you find some answers and good treatments. Prayer helps me to be calmer. Especially the :Serenity Prayer"

My first and worst tbi was in 1968. No one knew anything about TBI back then. I remember that I had a really hard time with reading comprehension and my teacher wrote on my report card that she was confused because subjects that I had previously done well in I seemed to struggle with. My mom wrote back that I had everyone confused. I taught myself how to comprehend what I read by reading it out loud and listening to my own voice. I still remember far more spoken words than written. I went on to have a fairly normal life until my late forties when my short term memory began to get worse and worse. I wasn’t diagnosed with TBI until 2008. By then all the knocks to my brain had caused innumerable lesions in my brain as seen on an MRI. I began rehabilitation and it has helped tremendously. My only complaint now is that my adult children are certain that I am mentally ill and will not speak with me unless and until I have been placed on a three day involuntary psychiatric hold. I cannot be placed in that hold unless I am a threat to myself or others. The problem is that I’m not a threat to anyone at all. An aide comes to my house four days a week now to help me around the house but I am most comfortable alone because people, although nice as can be, are a distraction. I have to live an evidence based life now. When people put things in a different spot I cannot find them. Moving my belongings is akin to moving furniture in a blind man’s house. If it’s not where I put it I have no clue where it is. I’ve always been a very social person, always wanting to learn about other people and other cultures and I still am social but I have to plan my social life around my brain and whether or not my brain will get overloaded.
For those who are trying to guess what is from a brain injury and what isn’t I highly recommend that you get a neuro-psychological exam. For me learning what areas of myself were affected by brain injury gave me the opportunity to do whatever I could to make improvements in those areas. People talk about wanting to be themselves again but for me my old self would be a seven year old child. I work hard every day to step by step regain control over my life. I don’t dwell on who I wanted to be, instead I plan for who I will be. I have a complete list of what senior citizen Shelly will be and so far I’m staying with the plan for the most part. COVID-19 and 2020 were awful times but also time to make a detailed plan for my future and a corresponding list of how to make it happen. I take care of myself one day at a time and let the Man who’s eye is on the sparrow take care of tomorrow.

Wow you have made my day . I finally found someone who has a similar story .. I too fell about 15 feet head first onto a paved driveway ,I was 8 a well and my mother found me placed me in my bad and I woke screaming with a swelled brain hrs and hrs later .they finally took me to a hospital ....I just remember screaming and crawling all over the back seat in pain... I’m alomst 50 now and just was tested for add. I’ve mentioned my accident to dr only to get no response..
I however did not complete school ..I got grade 8 and ended up spending 25 yrs sometimes homeless and all the time an addict .ive been clean for 4 yrs now and my memory is crap ,I loose things constantly,can’t get a job and keep it ,
I too fear dementia and am scared a lot of the time..I feel like no one wants to help.i feel like everyone thinks I’m lazy but all I want to do is be get a job...thank you for your story it made me feel less alone

Hi there, I hope you do not mind me replying to this comment; I happened to stumble across this blog post/comment because I was researching my own diagnosis for suspected brain injury, and your comment truly resonated with me. I want to say that (whether it is emotional or physical coping) I hope the best for you and your situation. I am not quite your age so I cannot imagine the stress of figuring out what is happening, but I understand the confusion and pain that comes along with not being treated for head injury as a child; especially when medical professionals are not there for you when you need them. A million different misdiagnoses within the past 10 years has not helped.. I only wish that I could offer you more support, but I hear you and I truly truly wish you the best!

Praying, Hope

I was recently diagnosed as an adult with autism at 43, but I believed I was misdiagnosed. At young age of 4 years old due to domestic issues as a child was thrown onto the the concrete steps at about 5 feet of the ground and the parent was very upset because I was crying I had a lot blood from my injuriesI had problems with socializing and was crying all the time since. I developed a lazy eye and had surgery. I then had subsequent head injuries from continued abuse.
In high school I was riding my bicycle and was hit by a car. I couldn’t remember anything but remember the impact of my head hitting the concrete. WHen I was conscious again I was walking home alone repeating that I’m dying! Shortly thereafter I was nauseous having a gag reflex constantly. My parents then took me to the hospital for an X-ray. The doctor said everything was ok. But that was not to be.
In the summer I was crying al the time, staying in my room all the time.
The next year I became really hyper with too much energy. Constantly talking. The next head injury resulted from similar domestic issues. I felt the fear and climbed out the second story window, but fell and landed on the back of my head.
My personality changed feeling distrustful and having a short fuse.
Now I’m 50 and the nausea came back and clear fluid. I also have severe disc degenerative disease at my Cervical spine.
I just hope the effects of my injuries dont come back and haunt me.
I’m not sure but I think I’m not autistic since the head injuries started at such a formative age.

You may be right
My husband is post head injury and
And displays similar emotions etc as if he had Asperger syndrome

I feel like my life is falling apart. Almost 15 years ago I have a severe TBI (frontal lobes), was in a coma, wasn’t expected to make it, my family had said their final goodbyes. Had several sudbural hematomas, my GCS was 7( almost positive about that number). Anyways I was 15 at the time and made a miraculous recovery. I can no longer taste/smell and am blind in one eye but overall most could never tell. I was a year ahead in all my classes so even school was 100x harder I worked to graduate high school on time after missing my entire sophomore year.I graduated with a 4.0. I was admitted to my number one university and studied (to the point of tears most nights), was involved in a sorority, a research lab, and multiple campus clubs. I graduated in 4 years with my bachelors in science in child psychology. I immediately started graduate school, starting a program to earn my masters and doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology. And I did just that. There were more tears than undergrad. And my thesis and dissertation was the most overwhelming thing I have ever done, but I graduated with my masters with my entering class, graduated with my doctorate with my entering class (with my dissertation completed before), received my first pick at internship and completed my residency. I passed my licensing exam and state boards and I was LOVING my job. I was thriving. I was working 10-11 hours a day (my choice), working out daily, making time for friends, family, I was constantly on the go. For the last 2 years I’ve been dealing with osteomyelitis in my skull (unfortunately dealt with this after my initial TBI as well). I have been unable to work for almost 2 years due to pain, lack of stamina, severe brain fog/ word finding difficulty. I spend 99% of my life laying in bed or my couch with an ice pack (the pain never goes away, never moves location). My team of specialists that recently treated me for osteomyelitis and replaced 97% of all hardware in face/skull do not believe it is infection. My body is super special and no labs/PET/NM anything ever come up abnormal (active osteomyelitis or not) so I am have bone biopsies done in the beginning of March. My concern is my team believes my current state of health my be CTE / consequences of my TBI since it was so severe. I’m only 30 years old. This is not living. I have NO quality of life. I worked hard to achieve one goal in my life, and I can no longer do that. Has anyone else been told this? I feel so lost and afraid.

I totally understand how you are feeling. I have been working in the medical field for the last 14 years. In 2017 I was in a MVA, hit my head on the driver side window, diagnosised with concussion, had treatment at the concussion clinic, and had to return to school for my NP. The road was very hard. I was able to pass board certification. Work as a NP. But, I still have some symptoms occasionally. I noticed at this very moment I have started having severe migraines, blurred vision, increased tinnitus to ears, brain fog, poor concentration, and some anxiousness. I have been working Covid for several months and was handling it well. But then decided to get a divorce, and the stress of others giving their unsolicited opinions has increased my stress level so my symptoms are returning. Severe headaches is now with blurred vision. I was very protective of my personal space, I am learning my triggers, maintain mindfulness, eating healthy without sugar, and have to resume use of Myer’s Cocktails and Gluthathione because the IV infusions helped a lot. This show me we can have setbacks, but you have to encourage yourself to fight the depression, brain fog, anxiousness and more.