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.

About the Author

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 (477)

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.

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

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

This is me. I feel the same way. I was in an accident a few months ago and haven’t been the same since. I feel like no one understands I’m healing and that my brain is still processing and I can’t do everything I once could like I could. Hell I can’t even cook anymore. It’s depressing. My boyfriend hates it.

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

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

life is not yours to take.

Clearly you do NOT understand suicide ! It isn't like you WANT it ..... It is a very serious illness - as well as CANCER is !!!! Please if you must respond could it be a positive message to the man in serious trouble !!!

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

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

You just helped me in so many ways. I experienced a subdurral hematoma in 2016. What helps me with the fatizue is a lot of water, homemade smoothies with spinach , blue berries and protein powder. I also drink ginseng tea and other. That works for me 65% of the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Aj

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can relate to your TBI even though I know that every TBI is different, my experience is very similar.

I had my first TBI when I was a kid in 5th grade when my father and I were driving home from my soccer game and our big heavy Ford Station wagon was hit by a speeding van. I smashed the top of my head against the steel passenger door, broke the window with my chin as I was flying out to hit something else.  Luckily my father was able to grab me by my leg to prevent me from continuing my flight and kept me inside the car. I recovered from that one, was a really good student and school was easy until I had my second car accident.

This time I was an upper sophomore in college, and it ruined my life, as well as my student life for good. Again, I was a passenger. Again, I didn't have a seatbelt on to restrain me. Like you, my trauma was also in '88. Four young men and two young girls traveling back from a party in a different neighborhood. I have no memory of the accident but was told that our driver was speeding, and the car that hit us was also speeding. Me and the second passenger in the front seat were both ejected from the Nova and both received TBIs.

I was in a coma for a week, in the hospital for over a month, and in therapy for about 6 years. My friend went crazy and all he does now is watch tv and collect his SSI. It's very sad, but his TBI ruined his life completely.

My short and long-term memory were both shot. I didn't even remember my who my sister or father was or where I lived my whole life when I was first brought home.

My girlfriend at the time stuck with me for 3 yrs. after the accident and I have to give her credit because I was a nasty s.o.b. most of the time because it was like I had fallen back to Earth with so many problems. I was mad at the world! But now that I look back on our relationship at the time, I wonder why my ex-girlfriend stayed with me that long knowing that I wasn't going to be able to finish my part of our deal of us both completing our higher educations. Was it that she truly loved me, or was it just for the long nights of great sex being it was like I was a virgin a thousand times over? LOL

Well, she completed her part of the deal and finished her degree and just left me and went on to become a lawyer, and I continued with therapy for another 3 years until ...

being that I didn't want to apply for SSI or medicaid because that's just the way I was raised, when the insurance companies decided that they weren't obligated to pay for my visits to the NYU-Rusk Institute 3 times a week for my cognitive and psychological therapy anymore, the "team" which included a neurosurgeon, cognitive therapist, psychotherapist, job placement therapist, and group therapist all decided that I had reached a plateau and there was nothing else they could do for me, they showed me the door. Thank God for that, had I gone on SSI, and Medicaid, I would still be going to therapy like some of the other patients in my group therapy have been doing 30 years before I got there.

I also apologize for the long read, but I wanted to lay the groundwork before I answered your question if anyone else has gotten worse over 28yrs of TBI? Well sorry it looks like it's been 2 years since you asked this question, so I hope you will check back and see my answer someday, but now It's been 30 yrs since my TBI and personally, I haven't gotten any worse, only better.

Now don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of cognitive deficits like in the Talking Heads song-As the Days Go By- I think it is. Every morning I wake up asking myself where am I and how did I get here? But I have a family, a house, a decent job, and a couple of cars, so I consider any day that I'm still above ground a blessing!

Also, I'm an avid reader, and I think that has helped me a lot and maybe built some new neuromatic pathways in my brain; I think that's what they are called; because once in a while, I can still remember things from my past that I wasn't able to remember before.

Now, some people may not understand the significance here, but considering how low my life was 30 years ago and the only thing that prevented me from committing suicide at that time was my religious faith, I feel that I'm still getting better every day.

Life is still a little more challenging for me then it is for people without TBI, but considering where I was then and where I am now, I still consider it to be a blessing. But I can't be sure if I'm still getting better, or just coping skills still getting better, or maybe I have a form of dementia and I just can't tell the difference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ma'am,

I totally understand your problems you mentioned.

12 months ago I was nearly beaten to death by 8 gangbangers. I received a duel TBI that required surgery to stop the bleeds on my brain. I also required a stay in a rehabilitation hospital for a short time.

I now suffer from a migraine headache that can only be stopped through the use of medical grade marijuana. (I'm not suggesting that you use marijuana. I'm not a doctor and wouldn't recommend any type of an actual treatment.)

But I will tell you that if was suggested that I take 1200 mgs of Magnesium to try to lessen the migraines that I suffer from now. Which does help a bit.

So ask your doctor what his thoughts are about Magnesium as a treatment for you.

I'm horribly sickened by what happened to you. No one deserves to be abused in any way.

J.

Hello.  Last November (the night of the Rousey fight)  I had a bad fall in a handicap restroom with tiled walls.  I don't sit on toilets.  When I was bending down to pull up my pants, I lost my balance.  I couldn't brace my fall because my ankles were tangled in my pants.  By time I threw my hands up to brace myself it was too late.  I would say I hit my head full force at a 45 degree angle.  It stunned me, I felt a vibration, and I just dropped to the floor.  I felt like I was swimming while trying to get back up.  I could feel myself about to pass out, but I fought it.  

It's weird how you can think of all these things within seconds.  Well I just laid on the floor for a guess about 5 minutes.  I finally got up and left the room.  I was not walking well and seeing triple, but thought it was just the alcohol kicking in, but I've never seen double and definitely not triple.  But I still just kept quiet about it. I felt like an idiot.  I got back to,the table laughing and my friend could see a slight splotchy spot on the front right of my head.  It kind of turned into show and tell.  What upsets me is that I had a little voice telling me I needed to go to the hospital, but my friend's a nurse didn't pay too much attention to it, so I figured it was no big deal. 

After about 45 minutes I made it home safely but stopped to get something to eat.  The following morning I threw up was dizzy and couldn't walk right.  My head neck and shoulders were killing me.  I say I was like a test car dummy.  The rest of my body was still going forward and squished against everything.

Anyway later that day I noticed a large red spot on my head.  I showed it to my nurse friend and mom, but they didn't seem like it was a big deal so again I blew off going to the hospital.  Later that night I noticed red in the corner of my eye, by the next morning the red showed up on my lids and under my my eye.  Then my other eye started getting the red.  I consulted with Dr Google and four that the blood was draining in my eye sockets which saved my life.  If the blood kept collecting in my head ..... The red spot did go away once my sockets started to fill up with blood.

After a three day period my eye socket were completely full of blood.  Just draw a circle around you lids to where you feel the cheek bone and the crease of the eyes.  Color and fill the circle with purple color and that was me.  

My conflictive functions were so messed up.  I couldn't put the drip plate on my stove on the right burner.  It took me 15 minutes to figure it out.  My speech, memory, concentration was messed up.  I was snapping at people.  I couldn't remember when I ate last-----still haven't seen a dr. 

There are some other things I went through but after 3 months I started feeling better but still having issues here and there.  OMG!!!  My anxiety was through the roof.  I was already dealing with anxiety before the incident, but after I was having to take so much more than normal. 

Well here I am 8 month later and feel like I'm having somewhat of a relapse I guess.  My bump is starting g to fill with fluid, headaches, severe exhaustion anxiety emotional.  Thursday and Friday I could not get out of bed because I'd get that motion sickness feeling.

Now I'm finally trying to get into see a neurologist.  At night when I get sleepy I freak out thinking I'm going to fall asleep and not wake up.  I've been up for 36 hrs or more.  I'm so emotional and I can't stop crying.  My brain feels like it's tearing away from my scalp.

I just feel like such an idiot for not going to the hospital when this fist happened and not getting treatment.  I'm afraid I've allowed more damage to happen by neglecting my injury.

The really sad thing is that my friends and family think I'm "milking" the issue.  I don't have anyone to talk to about it.  It really sucks.  People don't understand how I'm still having issues.  Its like the if you don't look screwed up, you're fine.  

I have to wait another day to try and see the neurologist my np referred me to.  His hrs are weird so I kept missing him Thursday and Friday.  I hope I can get some definite answers. 

Wish me luck. 💞

Hello,

My husband was "blown up" in his time in the Army. He received frontal lobe damage. Back when this happened the military was still very against anyone being treated by a psychologist. He received treatment for the main injury and was sent back to his unit. He never received treatment by a behaviorist. The stigma was there for many years. He functioned as best as he could. He hid everything. I think without knowing it I ended up "covering" for him a bunch way back then. I took over the finances, managed our home, and made most of the important choices for our family. Then in 2008/2009 he was deployed again. He was deployed back to the place where he had been injured. He came home from an "easy" deployment a completely different person. He was verbally aggressive, had every PTSD symptom I have ever learned about and was just angry. He needed to be right even when he was wrong and was forgetting things. I had started school during his time away to keep myself going. I chose Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis as my choice for my degree. I kept up with this education until I received my Masters. I did this to understand him. The VA doctors have called him a "Shammer" because the National Guard seems to have lost his files. Every medal, every single paper surrounding his injuries has vanished. I have tried so many times to find them and nothing. The point is that no one there is treating him. They have thrown pills at him and left him untreated for over 11 years now. I am the only one that has done anything. I set alarms, leave notes, and try to keep the stress levels down. I am just a wife here. I know that he has been injured. I was there when he came home from that mess. I was there and I have been there. I wish that less time can be spent trying to pick apart these Vets and more time was spent on their on their treatments. Most of the symptoms listed above and in every other article I have read or studied are present. My question is this; If treatment is delayed for this long, is there ever a chance of these behaviors lessening? or is the damage permanent? Thank you!

I don't know the answer to your question, but I do know the Bob Woodruff foundation has many resources that might be helpful. Their foundation does a lot to help injured veterans and their families navigate tough challenges. My 19 year old son sustained his severe TBI 2 years ago, and we discovered their amazing organization after reading "In an Instant." - I admire that you sought out higher education to learn more about what your husband was going through-- hugs and best wishes to you!

When I was 4 I fell off a top bunk onto my basement floor and had a subdural hematoma and had emergency surgery. All my life I thought all the things that were wrong with me were normal. I would read a book and not remember it. I still did pretty well in school but it was a struggle, I just thought I was dumb. Now 22 years later (I'm 26) I've started getting headaches and my memory is terrible! I've had a headache for 12 days now and they think it's just migraines. Anyone else having symptoms 20 years later?

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