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 (596)

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.

Hi, I came across this very interesting piece of reading material on my computer. Sustained a TBI thirty-four years ago. Brain-stem contusion...a new person was born. Hit by a train, comatose for 13 days...3 months in hospital, 1 month in ICU.

Life changes, to say the least...reincarnation. A new you has been born.

The perspective is always "JUST RIGHT!!!"

I was 17 when I was hit by a city bus. I was in a coma for 17 days and years of therapy. I can relate to almost all side effects mentioned about TBI's. I guess I was lucky. I learned how to walk and talk. I work in a hospital as a CNA. I love it, I can relate to the patients because I have been there. For some reason I was given a second chance at life! I am 36 years old now, I love my life and appreciate everything that I have been though. Stephanie Heidrich


My daughter was hit by a car when she was 8, she is now 24. I have been dealing with the affects of traumatic brain injury for 16 years and it has mostly been hell on earth. She had rehab all this time except for a few years when she decided to live with her dad and he said she was "fine" She's not fine and hasn't been since the accident and neither has our family.

She is mean-spirited, sarcastic, loud and verbally abusive most of the time. She swears like the devil, is horrible to anyone in the service industry like waitresses or bank tellers, she is awful to her children and has no friends or any personal relationships that last more than a month or two. Men use her for her monthly cheque, she uses drugs and alcohol all the time, her hygiene is terrible and her house looks like an episode of "Hoarders" And that is just the personality issues!

She has no sense of smell or taste so she is always sick from food poisoning. She wears special glasses because she has double vision all the time. She has a very bad back, shoulders and feet issues because she just doesn't take care of herself. Her person hygiene is sporadic at the best of times. She has chronic headaches and there are a million other health issues, I've only named a few.

And me well I cry a lot. I worry about her constantly since I won't live forever and no one cares about her or for her. She still has rehab but I talked to them yesterday and they are talking about pulling out since she doesn't care to fix her life. I've tried to get counseling for myself but there doesn't seem to be much for me since she is now an adult living on her own.

TBI is not anything I would wish on my worst enemy. Good luck for all of those living with TBI and their families

Mom in Ontario

I had a car wreck in Feb. 2014 which caused a TBI. I am 29 yrs old. Life the past year has been very difficult for me when it comes to understanding what happen and realizing that life will not ever be the same. I have had a lot of issues with my personality, emotional problems, ringing in my right ear, headaches and I had to do 3 months of rehab to be able to speak and put words together and understand what i was saying and what other people were saying to me, I stutter sometimes and i get frustrated easily.  I could not help my daughter who is in the 2nd grade with her homework. My Neuro doctor said I will be on Meds for the rest of my life.  I do not remember most of my childhood, some of my family members i dont remember, my daughter when she was a baby. Excepting the fact that i am not who i was before is hard to do. I take every day and just try to deal with it and make the best of the day and keep working on trying to get who i was back and be a better. 

TBI  number one after 35 mph motorcycle accident at age 15, Spring of 1970. TBI had not been given that name recovery was quick.42 years later a bike accident resulted in a moderate TBI that changed my life. Sight, hearing, taste, smell are all altered. Two years later memory and vocabulary still full of holes.  Reality is skewed. 

Work and pleasure both lack meaningful consistency. Libido is suppressed. Skills are diminished. My new dog makes me happy.

My son had a subdural hematoma his senior year playing football.  Anoxia set in throughout his brain.  He brain swelled, shifted to the right side of his skull and slowly herniated down on his brain stem.  He wasn't expected to live, but he did.  He was in a coma for 48 days.  He was then in a vegetative state for another 59 days.  He still has his personality and memories up to age 16.  He lacks executive functioning.  He is learning to walk and we have him on a continence training program.  I think our biggest problem is his lack of short term memory.  He is now up to remembering things in about 8-10 minute cycles. It is a miracle he is alive and we look forward to any healing that comes along.

In 2003 I had a 3 inch nail in my head for more than 24 hours. I lost my peripheral vision in my right eye. I have a lot of emotional problems, I am not social anymore, depressed all the time, sleeping habits are up and down. I have a constant ringing in my ear that get worse some days. If you want  https://depthtml.musc.edu/catalyst/2003/co5-9nail.htm check out my article. I am currently 30 years of age, I seem to be having more problems as time goes on. It is really hard to regulate my body temperature. I mean some mornings I will wake up sweating and it cold. It happens at work a lot and make me feel embrassed constantly sweating when it is cold outside. I am currently on 26 pill a day. I really hate medication but it does seem to help out the sharp pains that shoot down my neck. Where the nail entered my sinus cavity was totally rebuilt because of the air pressure. Life has not been easy, just like others some days are better than others. But I don't feel myself, I don't have a life, I have no motivation to accomplish anything which is defeating the purpose of me becoming happy again and enjoying life. No doctor won't listen to me, I have no insurance and barely can get by. It has affected everything about my life and its not fair.

Hey! Thanks guys for this information, that I need for my 27th grade research project.

At fifty years of age I am still struggling with frustrations about what I can do and the amount of time it takes to do things I've been doing for years. Its embarrassing and I wish I could say to people that I had a serious head injury at eighteen. Sounds like your husband is lucky to have you as I am lucky to have my wife who is so supportive.

My husband has been undiagnosed and untreated for over 27 years. When he was seen medically he would be asked about any hospitalizations? and he would respond with he hit his head years ago. From what I learned through an advocate of TBI she said my husbands response was typical of a person who has TBI. He did not realize the depth of the question or the answer. He spent the past 27 years  self medicating himself with alcohol to slow down his brain. He has had prior problems with his temper that too is a result of his TBI. He spent 5-6 months in a coma at 18 from a motorcycle accident. When he left hospital he never went back for a thing. Now that I have investigated the effects and I can explain his behavior there is hope he can get treated properly and will not be dependant on alcohol. He always knew he didnt fit in rehab for alcoholism. Its been a real eye opening experience and sad how long he has spent 'dealing" with the effects and feeling like he was crazy and now he knows there is hope.

My son had a moderate TBI 2.5 years ago.  He still has partial hearing loss and a metallic taste.  He had a fractured skull, multiple lobe contusions, hemorrages and epidural hematoma.  He came home from the hospital with personality and emotional changes. Two months later, he decided not to let this injury ruin his life and starting running 5 to 10 miles a day.  He trained for the "Tough Mudder" marathon.  Although he still has some deficits, I believe that all that blood pumping to his brain helped heal it.  I know it is not possible with some people, but if you are newly diagnosed try to get a lot of exercise.  It may be coincidental, but how else can you explain him being able to take the LSAT exam a year later and get into law school

Hi All,

I was 10 years old when I had my traumatic brain injury. I was hit by a car and fell into a coma for a couple weeks. The diagnosis was diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury. Hemiparesis happened to the right side of my body. When I woke I couldn't move that side at all. I had to learn how to walk and how to move my arm again. I now write with my left hand (I was a righty) and I walk with a limp. When I smile my lips don't arch all the up on my right side. It's still considerably weaker than my left side.

My memories were for the most part all intact. I remembered my family, friends and where I lived. My intelligence was still all there too. I am less social and i do get anxious easily now.

I am 25 years old now and this article helped me in realizing all brain injuries aren't life changing. Thank you very much! I wish you all a happy and healthy recovery!

I was 16 in 1991 and was in an accident I suffered a severe brain trauma and had trouble in school.  Years later I graduated and joined the military I started to notice that I would drink almost every night and often became very defensive when people would try to help.  Later in my thirties after loosing many friends I started to just blurt things out even posting them and not understanding why I would feel and say these thing. I'm 41 and I have noticed I'm getting worse I teach at a school and get aggravated when people on my team try to help. I have never tried to get help an I'm very scared. I have made an appointment to be seen but what do I say I have lived with this for so long I don't know how to react I feel lost and alone

Did anyone on here have an injury who went deaf or possibly a elderly grandmother?

This has been so helpful. I was feelin like the only one with on going problems with anger, and day to day routines. I sustained a tbi november 2006. Was kicked in the forehead by a horse. Fractured skull and some spine damage. My Dad wasthere and said it looked like someone took a hatchet to my head the fracture was clear to the brain how no bone ended up peircing my brain is beyond me. Eight years later some I know I have memory problems and some days are worse than others... Controling my anger and well all my emotions is really becoming a problem lashing out at the first person who crosses me. Even bigger problem trying to explain to someone that you have suffered a TBI and it isnt like II want to be unhappy or pissed off or easily angered. I dunno how many times I have been told oh you can controle it when really I dont feel I can... I have been to the point now at 27 I have to put my self in timeout just so I dont blow up. Larg crowds I cannot handle anymore... and some social situations and quickly disliking someone aand being less accepting of people. I stil, have good days and defiantly bad days, if there is a lot going on no concentration on what needs to be done. And for work they dont really allow the whole brain injury excuse when the accident was years ago, I know a lot of people are sick of gearing bout it but itsone of those dealsyou cantelk someone you still have problems with it years later and they just think its an excuse.... lots of frustration here

First and foremost I would like to express sincere appreciation to the scholars who wrote and published this article and are allowing people like myself to add comments and share our experiences.  For over two years I wondered what was wrong with me and why I had so many problems that, until recently, were virtually unexplainable.  At least I now know that I am not alone.  I can't say that makes my life any easier - I am going through, quite possible, the most unhappy time of my entire life. But I feel consoled by the fact that I'm not alone.  
One June 1, 2012 I was hit by a car that was traveling at almost 45 mph.  Two days later I received emergency surgery for an epidural hematoma.  
Prior to having my accident, I'd spent the entire year taking entrance exams and preparing to start  Mexican law school at the Universidád del Valle de México, one of the most well known and prestigious universities in the country. My father had agreed to help me with my living expenses and tuition.  I was about to embark on the most exciting and promising journey of my young adult life.  
 I didn't want to stay in the hospital any longer than necessary.  I didn't want physical therapy or any of that.  I had deadlines to meet, and I wanted to start school as planned.  In spite of having a broken leg, a broken shoulder, broken wrist, and recovering from brain surgery, I was able to start school as planned. Looking back, I should have been more patient and waited until the next quarter.  I thought I'd be able to bounce back from my injuries, and I was wrong.    
Soon after starting school, I began suffering blackouts.  Usually they would happen when I was at home, but twice they happened while I was on campus and  on both occasions I was taken to the local hospital in Nuevo Laredo.  The school staff was caring and supportive, but my parents were convinced that these episodes were drug related.  On my first trip to Laredo Medical Center, my mother told the doctors that I had "overdosed on Ambien".  This was her hypothesis because she found a full bottle of Ambien by my bed when she went to my hotel room.  Seems like, if I had overdosed on Ambien, the bottle would have been empty - not full.  But anyway, they treated me for drug toxicity based on what she told them and had she been honest and told them that she -suspected- it was a drug overdose but was not sure, they probably would have ultimately referred me to a neurologist who would have prescribed me with PTS and saved me from the months of pain and confusion that followed.   
My dad decided that the best way to "handle the situation" was to lower my stipend to almost nothing; consequently I never had enough money to go to a primary care physician or a neurologist or to even life comfortably.  My health insurance covered ER visits but I never had enough money to pursue any more treatment.  One one occasion I was referred to a neurologist by the ER at Laredo Medical Center and when I went to my appointment,  I didn't have the $15 co-pay.   

After living like this for months, I visited my mother in Austin and she witnessed one of these seizures.  She took me to St. David's ER in South Austin and I was diagnosed with post-traumatic seizures resulting from the traumatic brain injury I suffered when I was hit by the car.  I was prescribed medication and these episodes began to occur less and less.  The last time I had an "episode" was the day I was supposed to start my new job at a law office in Laredo, Texas.  By the time I was finally able to dress myself and go into work, I was fired on the spot for my physical appearance, arriving late, and looking totally dazed.  They'd come across some misdemeanor drug convictions when they did my background check for employment, hence, they assumed I was high or hung-over or God-knows-what.  
Consequently I had to drop out of college, move to Waco so I could take a dead-end job with my DAD, and try to "not think" about my goals and everything I worked to accomplish for such a long time.  
I forgot the name of the seizure medication I was prescribed but honestly, I took it for less than 6 months.  I recently started driving again and, although a big part of me died when I was forced to leave school, I can say I am living a somewhat normal, albeit monotonous and joyless life.  
My last seizure was in May - I think.  It is possible that I could have had seizures since then (I'm unaware of them when they are going on) but none of the signs (waking up exhausted, confusion, dizziness, etc.) are there.  I hope, I hope, I hope that chapter of my life is over.  
If anyone out there is having or has had an experience similar to mine, feel free to contact me.  I had to face these ordeals alone, with criticism and skepticism instead of support, and no one deserves to go through that.  

youare incredibly strong woman! you have just sparked something in me idk what, hope? i have had neumerous blows to head but nvr wentto er except once nevr told about this describe me totally

My ex husband was in a motorcycle accident last Friday. He is not responding. He is posturing. Not with his arms up.. And he makes random movements. I have heard he occasionally has moved to stimulus but one nurse says one thing the other another so I am sure it just isn't that frequent or they just don't know. Yesterday it was 72 hours. Don't know the future. What I have read... Posturing is not good. They say he is not in a coma. A semi coma. What's the difference. They said currently on a scale from 1 to 6. One being worse he is a little above a one. I pray the number will go up in time. It is encouraging to hear your stories. Life events We just never know. Have to rely on God. Know that he never abandons us.

Hi all. I fell from a fire escape in 2006 and had a severe brain injury. Was in coma for 15 days and the hospital for 2 months total. I was lucky I was a second semester senior in high school at the time and was able to drop some classes and graduate. Then went to ucsb and graduated in 4 yrs. Wasn't a great student but I graduated! Life was good in college, except for I definitely had way less impulse control than normal when drinking. Trying to drink in moderation now. In the working world, life is a struggle bc my memory sucks. Having to give speeches and participate in meetings etc. is really tough. I haven't been fired yet, but it's bc I work for my Dad. I get stressed so I smoke cigarettes, but then I get the worst dark circles possible. I have contemplated suicide but know that is not the right answer. I have lost my best friends bc my personality has changed (but that's mostly bc of my drinking habits). I get angry when drunk, but also very irritated and annoyed when sober. I get depressed easily and don't really like too many ppl. My Dad is a great guy and nice person, but sometimes I just don't even like him. I am really considering leaving my family-centered life (no gf/wife or children) and becoming a recluse, but deep down I don't want to.

Hello, I had a tbi I 2011 I'm doing well considering I almost died was in a coma for several weeks. My short term memory is very poor my ears ring I have balance problems headaches insomnia, I get so tired so easily and crabby but each day that passes I look at what I can do and not what I can't anyone who is going through this just be patient with yourself and go one moment one day at a time be thankful you are what you are keep going ... Colleen

I was in a wreck when I was 13 yrs. old back in 1983 and was thrown out of a pickup truck after we hit a telephone pole going about 40 mph. I spent a week in the hospital for head trauma and sustained a huge gash to the base of my lower skull area and almost lost my eyesight. I am very thankful to be alive, but I have often wondered what impact it has had on me personally over the last 30 plus years. I have a 9 year old son and I owe it to him to be the best father I can be. I don't have a lot of patience with people and I an easily irritated and have been since I can remember. I do not have much memory of the wreck or my time in the hospital and really am looking for people with similar stories and daily struggles.

I had a TBI due to a right frontal lobe intracranial abscess  September 2012.  I had the abscess drained, but it filled again, and developed an offspring. I had a second surgery to remove the abscess , and was treated for several weeks with  iv antibiotics. I presented as a full blown stroke, but quickly got full use of my left side with the help of aggressive physical therapy. You would never know I had ever had a problem. What doesn't show are the affects left on the inside. I have severe memory loss. I had to check in my medical files to find the year I had my TBI. I thought I was heading into my 3rd year. Timelines are a nightmare. I have such a problem trying to figure out when things happened, and I don't want to ask my husband anymore as he looses patience with me. In the last few months I have greatly diminished sense of smell and taste. I can taste the first couple of bites of things, but I  am not sure if this us just due to my memory of what they tasted like. I loose words! I will be talking and want to say a word, but can't remember it. I will describe the word to someone,and by the time they have given me the word,I have forgotten what I was talking about. I cry every day. I am so frightened that I will get worse, especially when my sense of smell and taste did not change until a year after my TBI. What else may be affected.. I want to lay down every day in the late afternoon,and could stay in bed for  the night, I don't sleep in that time in the afternoon,but often I do not sleep throughout  the night.  I used to enjoy going out for a few drinks with my husband and friends, but now all I want to do is go out to dinner,and come straight home. I used to ride my bicycle 15 miles a day and then workout for an hour. I have no urge to do either. I know I will never have the old me back, but how can I explain this to my husband! He us growiing  short on patience

Anyone here that is married to a person with TBI. I have been married to my husband that obtain a brain injury 14 years ago.I didnt know him at that stage.I knew that he has got a brain injury and supported him as his decisions were ruining his life. (friends that abused drugs etc) He is one of the kindest people I have ever met in my entire life and I am currently running his business (that I took from scratch) and making a success of it. I am his cook, PA, Secretary, sometimes cleaner as well as friend. Recently he went through a traumatic experience with his family whom he trusted (they stole his trust money) and ever since this happened everything changed... He is more tired than usual (yawning every minute or two), sleeps half of the day. He has a lack of zest in life, grumpy and extremely rude to me. (I am his 'punchbag') If I try to talk to him to ask him what I did wrong to deserve this treatment, he slams doors and take off. I forgot to tell you that he is 33 and I am 31. I dont know how to cope as the emotional damage that he is causing to me is becoming extremely unbareable. There is only so many times one can tell yourself: 'he doesnt mean it, he has a braininjury,remember?" He shows no affection towards me which is so frustrating and makes me feel 'not good enough'. He shows no emotions and his attitude when I try to talk to him is the "I dont give a shit how you feel' attitude and extremely sarcastic. I had a miscarriage a year years ago and he showed no empathy towards me and while I was 'sick' he shout at me and swear at me for not getting back to our clients within minutes after they have sent a request. I thought that love would overcome the obstacles of TBI (my love is strong enough) but how can he love me if this is how he behaves towards me?Please help me understand?

13 years ago I suffered a small skull fracture near my right ear. I was 19 decided it would be a great idea to hitch a ride on a moving RV. I was discharged that night. 3 days later they did another MRI with that dye. Low and behold I had a skull fracture. I had significant memory loss no sense of smell or taste. It was so bad I'd start a conversation and mid way threw I'd completely forget I was even talking. have slightly worse hearing in my right ear. Headaches are a part of life for me these days. Female problems. Almost split personality disorder can't seem to make decisions easily. I also suffer from paranoia. I often feel people are against me. I'm extremely out going so it causes a conflict with my personalty. My memory was getting better but now it seems to be re lapsing my smell and taste improved too. At first I too had that "chemical" smell but for me I didn't think it was chemical. I smelt a similar smell to it and it was odd cause it was a combo of smells and every once in a while I'll get it and know exactly what it was. So I was at the salt river tubing that "smell" is the exact same as drunk people tire inertubes baking in the sun, dirty river and sunscreen and suntan lotion. Oh and my conversations in real life jump around just as much as my written ones. Like this one. So there's that too. Oh and I tend to go back and forth on thoughts like yes its good idea no that's not and back to thinking the way I was before. Hence the indecisiveness. Last thing I can think of is the inability to learn things I read and remember and if I physically complete a task a few times I'll remember it but taking direction or being questioned is extremely difficult for me. Being questioned really sets me on edge because I know I take a few seconds to minuets to answer. Then I feel self conscious. So that's my sucky reality. Feel free to look me up via Facebook if you feel like sharing your story. - Erin Rohweder. -

I agree totally; brain injury is a very permanent thing. Mine was in '96 when I was 16. I have learned to cope and adjust rather nicely I do believe. But, still to this day, I just want to rest :)

I had a moderate TBI when I was 22 and I am now 59. TBI changes your life and it took me a long time to figure that out in order to accept and move on. Your last paragraph should have been the first. We don't ever fully "recover." TBI is a chronic condition that you have to adjust and learn to live with. 

Suffered a TBI in 2012 April. Caused a lot of issues which really neverb have been addressed. I lost my job which has caused me much heartache as I. Was an RN nd worked with psychiatric patients most of my career. I was hurt on the job at a state facility and the let me go after stating my6 month probation was still in affect.

I have a mod-sev t.b.I. and never rec'd help until 29 yrs, I am getting help now. I am 52, yet still in mindset of a 20 yr old. This is difficult. Alone and fighting the VA system.

Can anyone help? My mom is 89 and she had a fall in July 2013. They did surgery to remove fluid. She was recovering so well over the last 5 months but 2 weeks ago she fell and hit head again. Nothing on CT or MRI was abnormal. ...but she is having the forgetfulness and slurred speech SOME and it was like she experienced about 3 months ago when she was recovering from the first fall. Can this get better with time (dropping words, sentnces, forgetfulness) it's not all the time but she is worried and i am too. they didnt see anything on the scans. Doctor says be patient, it will get better. There is some chronic fluid still there but the doc says it will re-absorb and doing another surgery on her would be not good. Can someone comment?

Hi. On November 23rd, I was riding my dirt bike along a gravel road with no helmet. According to an intoxicated Asian, I flew over the handlebars, according to a redneck, I flipped the bike. Whatever happened, I may never know. I do not remember anything before the accident that morning. Anyhow, I received some shitty assed medical care from lake wales hospital, and you can tell them I said that because they wouldn't even come get me out of the car at the ER. Anyways, I was supposedly found laying bleeding, in a ditch unconscious. I was taken to Lakeland (thank god) and treated there. I had some short term memory loss that came back pretty fast thankfully. 

I had a severe TBI (subdural hematoma) at age 15 in 1995. It took me many years to fully understand that I had to move on and make goals for myself; I'm now a pretty successful adult. Some things that benefited me the most in my recovery:

don't worry if people don't think you're the same person

believe in yourself

keep lists of important tasks- use a calendar, cell phone, computer

make a list of your goals

learn something new

find ways to relieve stress and exercise

These are the things that helped me the most, and I hope that others find the way. I was very fortunate to have recovered, but I still have things to work on. My anger and emotional control, in general, are still daunting tasks for me, yet I know that I'm a unique person. 

Good luck to everyone. Please remember to believe in yourself.

I had an epidural hematoma at 3 years old.  I am now 52.  I am just becoming aware that this injury could have any effect on my life at all.  I am smart but have always been considered "different".  My family thinks I don't give a sh--* about anything (*that's been said since I was a child).  I am blunt and feel like I can see through people and their falseness, I am horrible with distinguishing left and right (especially mirror image). I am insulted by television and have used as many drugs that have been exposed since age 10.  I don't fit into society's mold of what is normal and have been to jail and prison.  I've lived in a mansion, I've been homeless.  

At this time, I run a business and am well financially but have had a breakup with my fiance which is sending me over the edge with self-destructive behavior -- drugs, dangerous risks, etc.  Can anyone point me to information on long-term impacts.  I am well liked, but don't have close friends.  I don't want them.  Manipulation is second nature to me but I never manipulate for selfish reasons.  I feel like I've stopped making sense.  Please respond with any advise!  tracydawn2@hotmail.com

Hi everyone,I had a brain injury in 1994 I have two boy's aged 15teen & 13teen I'm now 38. The last two years my aggression and depression has got that low all I think about is how can I stop this pain I'm going through and the pain I'm putting my ffamily in. The doctor's have put me on that may different meds it's not funny, I just don't want 2 be like this anymore I can only think of one way to stop it all but I also love my kid's so much I hate the thought of not ever seeing them again or hugging my husband. I feel so alone and scared I hate who I am

I had a severe TBI on May 28th 2002. And every year that goes by I become more angry/hostile/depressed to the thoughts of suicide. To end this mental torture anyone else have this problem?

I sustained a severe TBI on 23/06/2012  during an attack in Thailand. I suffered an epidural hematoma which required a decompressive craniectomy. I was in a coma but finally awoke and was then able to fly home to Ireland some months later. On 08/05/2013 I had my cranioplasty operation to replace the large sections of my temporal and frontal regions. I started back at University this year and I reckon everthings going alright. There are times when I may have had some problems remembering names and occasional bouts of anxiety, but I didn't bother telling my neurologist. (Not getting this as much anymore) For anyone who was in the same situation as me a few months back I'd just like to say try and stay strong and try and not get down.

Reading this was so helpful, I suffered a tbi 2 years ago and had an emergency crainiotomy my life will never be the same but my belief in god and his healing is the only ultimate thing I have. I just take baby steps every day and be greatful for every blessing I have. May god love and give strength to any one who had suffered a tbi it has truly been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with . Colleen tbi survivor

I was in a roll over car accident in 2006. I was diagnosed with a TBI. I was told I had a deep subdural hematoma (brain bleed) on the right frontal lobe. Along with other physical injuries. I was in alot of pain and life as I knew it came to a complete stop. No drunk drivers just a big black bull standing lengthwise across my lane. A dark rural two lane hwy, speedlimit 65 at night. I was going about 50 up an incline. I met the bull at the top. Blk bull, blk pavement, blk sky up an incline, visibility didnt allow me to see the bull until I was face to face. I somehow swerved and missed impact but my suv flipped and rolled a few times when I hit the grass and the ditch. I was told though that hitting that big bull would of most likely killed me and maybe my whole family. I'm happy to say my husband and children were unharmed. I experienced about every symptom that I have read about and then some. When it seemed after two years I was getting somewhat better I had a relapse and got worse. Then after asking my doctors about a hyperbaric chamber and getting laughed at and told it would be a waste of time and money I went to one. It was 3 1/2 years after the accident. I was worse than ever at the time. Tremors, headbobbing, slurred speech, memory problems, bad headache that never went away from the initial head injury. Peripheal vision gone, unable to focus well, poor concentration, time mgmnt gone, my emotions towards people, except anger, gone. You name it. I've been there done that. But after a month of hyperbaric dives twice a day, 1hr each six days a week I had a dramatic improvement. It actually felt like I popped out of that state of not being me. If you have a TBI you understand maybe what I mean about not feeling like me. I felt like myself again. The drs. told me to kiss my old self goodbye. They said that person is dead and this is the new you. They said I would need help the rest of my life. I told them Yah-Weh(God) is bigger than brain damage and He is. Im not saying a hyperbaric chamber is a cure all for everyone but it can help some, it helped me tremendously. I will tell you this I got sick several months later with upper respitory stuff that went around in the winter. Went to a new dr. and told him I had experienced a TBI so he would be aware of my history before he prescribed meds but he prescribed something that brain injured persons are not supposed to take. I didnt read the caution page that came with the med until I started throwing up minutes after taking it. That night while sleeping I woke up, sat up in bed and it felt like something in my head exploded. Started experiencing some of the old symptoms after that, for about 18 months it was the worst of the worst. I am again much better but still not feeling 100 percent. I will go back to the hyperbaric chamber again but its expensive. So not right now. I want to encourage you not to give up and try not to focus on all the overwhelming negatives. The human brain is amazingly resiliant and our will and determination is amazing too. Plz read this and be encouraged, its one of the few things I was able to write during that initial 3 1/2 year nightmare. Its called ''Opportunity" I gotta get out, I gotta get out, I gotta get out of my mind I feel like a prisoner lost somewhere in time Standing on the outside, looking back at me Dazed and confused at whom I will be I gotta get out, I gotta get out, I gotta get out of my head I gotta find me, but they tell me she's dead But I don't believe a word that they say I'm not in denial, I just have strong faith That a better me will emerge someday God has a plan and a purpose for me And it will take more than this to steal my destiny So just as I changed and became a new creation in Christ I'll look at this as an opportunity to become a better me this time Because I trust you Lord completely, to me rebuild my new life... Just reminding you that your never alone.:)

For the one who mentioned the chemical smell, posted on Nov. 9th 2013, I had a TBI just last year. I recall having that chemical smell multiple times and describing it EXACTLY like that. "Chemical smell." I guess I'll go ahead and tell my story while I'm at it. I'll try to make this as short as possible. The driver was drunk in our vehicle, I didn't know it, I was a backseat passenger. I wasn't wearing my seatbelt I don't think. We were going 100mph, lost control, hit an electrical box, flew 8 feet in the air, snapped an entire telephone phone in half (at 8ft) I was ejected out the rear windshield, landed by a bunch of steel rods and shattered bricks, "woke up" in rehab after I apparently spent 10+ days in a medically induced coma to prevent me from getting pneumonia, I received a broken wrist, 2 shattered fingers, a broken bone across my face (from left cheek to right cheek) 2 broken neck bones, half an ear that was sewed back rather quite well, a severely damaged amygdala, and bleeding near the brain stem. Spending 7 years training to be a Marine I can confirm that it blew a whole lotta dick finding out they do not accept TBI patients.
My 13 year old son had TBI a little over a month ago now from football. It was raining hard and he had helmet to helmet blow that also caused whiplash. He still does not recognize any people besides me and his dad. He has been reintroduced to his friends and family. He has forgotten his preferences in food, along with a great deal of his 13 years of his life, he has a few vague memories but doesn't recall names of some common objects and is having to relearn a lot of things . He is starting to exhibit some social problems, one of which is not knowing what kind of stuff is appropriate at times . I know its only been a month but it seems like so much longer. I am encouraged to see all the posts here so thank you to everyone for sharing the good and the not so good so that I can get a realistic perspective and be able to help him more. mom of cmb
My boyfriend fell two years ago from the back of his truck onto the back of his on the pavement. He did lose consciousness for what he explained was a dream state of mind. He spent one week in the hospital and was released with no explanations of what to expect. Since then he has a decrease in taste and smelling ability is zero. There is a constant ringing in left ear with hearing loss. He has explained the smell he smells as a chemical smell of many different things. Has anyone else had anything similar to his symptoms? Has anyone ever gotten better from similar symptoms?
I was 4 or 5 yrs old when I Had a TBI, I was playing ballerina and fell and hit my head on the corner of the coffee table, All I remember is throwing up blood. 10 yrs later I was hit in the head by accident with a baseball bat on the left side of my head. I blacked out just for seconds, but was dazed. Depression or the depression like symptons started and its not till now, I'm 54 that I'm really having problems with memory. Long and short term. But I must confess. I did have problems with my personalty when I was young. I did not know how to socialize and to this day I still don't know how. Its very lonely and scary. Because people do not understand. And my depression is worse than ever. But, after reading about brain injuries, this might be the answer, its not just me, but something that happened to me a long time ago. Maybe now I can make some sense of what is going on in my head.
I was hit by a car when I was four years of age and suffered a Severe TBI. After reading this article I have a better understanding of the motor effects that I am inflected with. Now over 40 years later since my accident all the effects that I understand have become just a part of my personality. I feel that I live a normal life, If there is such a thing, but with a slowed speech and taking the time to think what I am going to say before I say it, which I had learned through speech therapy when I was younger, I have no complaints of what my life has become.
I have a moderate tbi, I think all of your stories on here are amazing. I was hit from behind by a speeding car and knocked unconcious. Memory is terrible. Cannot drive yet. Bless you all and thanks for the human connection.
In 1999 my husband had a motorcycle accident. His handlebars whiplashed and he flew over the bike landing on the track hitting his head, hip and shoulder. He broker his collarbone and had a 6 inch laceration where the skin just pulled apart. Emergency medics asid he only lost consciousness for 30 minutes and cam in and out of consciousness for 8 hours. But, he feels that he was conscious. He thought the same when I arrived but he was still in and out. His helmet was damaged on all four sides which meant his braid richoted in the helmet. He has had a severe personality change. He is irritable over minor things and can't let go in an argument. He is always unhappy with someone over something. I agree that the issues are disappointing but he writes long repetitive emails trying to prove his point. He doesn't laugh anymore. He was so funny prior to the accident. He is explosive if he feels inadequate. He often does not understand explanations that he used to and does not realize the change blaming confusion on others. He seems to have lost his empathy. He didn't care when he lost a good friend and his mother. He was mostly angry. He had no compassion for other people's ways of grieving. He feel unsafe and threatened all the time. He feels people don't respect him and are lying to him. It is so very sad.
07/07/2007.. I am not severely religious but the date would seem that I am still here and should be. TBI from a motorocycle accident. I am a computer software engineer. Spent a month in the neurology unit while not remembering my name and not really remembering what had been said to me 30 min prior. While I have a wonderful wife and two outstanding children. My continued mood swings, headaches, general irratability would indicate just how wonderful and outstanding they really are. While I indicate content with family. I could seriously do without those symptoms. If I I can indicate directions for anyone reading this, it might be to appreciate those that remain after a TBI. And if someone gives you a chance by saying in a conversation with you that sometimes head injuries change personalities. You should listen and get real help.
I had severe TBI in 1990 - did great for about 16 years - college degree, etc... but I started having seizures then - now everything is a huge mess - my cognitive functioning sucks - I can't remember anything. I'm in graduate school and I'm struggling so bad - I just want to hurry up and get out - my professors all know about my accommodations and me getting lost and overwhelmed. Life just isn't as easy as it used to be. I can't remember normal stuff anymore - the doctors always told my parents that I wouldn't be the same and my parents know my personality is much different, but I can tell that learning and remembering is so much more difficult for me than it used to be. It used to come so easily - I never had to study or anything - now I can't remember what I do study = It's really caught up with me. My brain can only hold so much and it can't hold anything more! Frustrated in Texas
Incredible story. There needs to be more education regarding TBI and how early treatment is key. Share your story.
I am a 35 year old female and today is my one year anniversary from my car accident in which I was rear ended while stopped in traffic by a car traveling 65 mph, the rear end impact sent my car into the middle lane (from the right lane) where I was t-boned by a passing vehicle at 65mph, my side curtain airbags deployed into my left temple and then I was t-boned 2 additional times by other passing cars. I kept asking the cop if my cheek was broken because my head hurt so bad, he never called an ambulance and I was too dazed to realize I was injured. The cop's exact words were "go home and take some advil because your going to be hurting tomorrow"....really?? I was off of work for 3 months straight with daily 10/10 head pain, returned to work on half days for 3 months where my employer gave me full time work while on half days that created so much frustration and delay in my recovery. I am now at the one year mark and seem to be going backwards in recovery. I have severe PTSD and depression. My MRI was positive for traumatic insult to my frontal lobe as well as a abnormal EEG. That neuro said I was fine and sent me on my way one week post MVA. Soon after I had 3-4 seizures, ordered my bills and records which showed both positive MRI and positive EEG results when I was told they were normal. I did not get the records until after I went back to work on half days otherwise I wouldn't have gone back. I feel the lack of basic protocol for TBI's is a huge problem and causes more people longer pain and suffering. Air bag deployment, especially side curtain airbags with multiple impacts requires automatic concussion/TBI review by medical professional which I was never given. I couldn't find a glass in my own house just after the cops sent me home with a friend since my suv had $22,000 in damage. The police report once received advise no injuries. Every vehicle had injuries after speaking with my insurance company. Due to my delayed diagnosis and medical treatment my doctors advise I can expect a 1-3 year recovery. I plan to go back out on FMLA next month as I have perm muscle damage behind both eyes, both pupils are still dilated and are perm, including peripheral vision loss shown on testing, cognitive issues, weight loss, and still not sleeping well. Early treatment is a must, have them check your vision, balance, nutrition, and sleep habits. I have never felt more alone as many mention on this page, because I appear fine I feel like no one believes me when I will be battling these issues alone for a very long time. Good luck to everyone, stay positive no matter what!!!!! Remember we are TBI survivors, not victims!!!!!
I had TBI on November 2010. I used to be a mixed martial arts fighter until I got TBI from an illegal knee which had me out but my instincts were still going and my fight or flight response took over and I continued the fight for another 15 minutes approximately. In that time I sustained approximately 25 impacts to the back of my head via punches and elbows which were seen on the CT Scan taken at an emergency room three days later to rule out a skull fracture or cranial bleeding. Luckily I did not but the doctor said my trauma was similar to a major car wreck. I now had a condition called Post Concussion syndrome which is pretty much like Post Traumatic Brain Disorder. It is something I deal with everyday and try to make the best of. The part that has really made me lose faith in people is the fact that we had evidence proving foul play and the North Carolina Boxing Authority felt fit to disregard it and blow me off. These guys were cops and chose to do nothing in the face of evidence that hand grounds probably cause along with a fight that had a referee that was negligent to the blows as well as showing intent to violate the rules and regulations of the State. I had bouts with alcoholism, much greater anxiety, a potentially lucrative career now over as a result, and lost my girlfriend due to changes in my mood and behavior. In order to counter act this I have started writing and now keep a blog and am working on a trilogy of science fiction novels in order to keep my brain as sharp as possible and it definitely has helped. I read some of the stories on here and I can definitely relate to the type suffering of it is. I just want people on here to now that you can still do something despite this injury and you shouldn't give up on yourself if you have. I'm not. I just hope that this condition can be prevented someday. It's an injury the people just cant relate to until they experience it. You change.
Bicycling accident, August 2004. I was hit from behind by a truck. Despite having severe head and spinal injuries, I was not diagnosed with TBI nor informed of the possible behavioral and emotional effects until well after my marriage was destroyed. "The person who once was is no longer there"