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 (533)

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

I have tbi. The thing I need the most is patience from people closest to me. I found an excellent doctor. I am Christian and that's the key to my life. I know you & your boyfriend will need time to adjust. I pray the best for you. Take time for yourself ,

I'm not a doctor so I can't answer your question from the perspective of any medical professional. However, 5 years ago I fell 40 feet down onto a rocky beach and the first responders assumed I was undoubtedly going to be dead within a few hours; I wasn't. Then the doctors stated i'd never come out of the coma I was in; I did. Then they stated I would never be able to speak; the next day my mom handed me the phone used to call down to the cafeteria so I could convice one of the people down there to bring me 4 pieces of bacon instead of 3. They stated i'd never be able to walk let alone compete in the endurance events I had previously, in 2 years time I ran my first 50 mile ultra. The staff at RIC(located in Ilinois, it's where I was transferred after the more intensive and stabilizing rehabilition I attended in California was over) told me that I shouldn't jump back into schooling because "I was incapable of recognizing the difference betwen an A and an F" that summer I attended the local college and got an A in both the classes I was in(one of those classes only had 2 people receive A's in the course, myself and another individual).

I'm not trying to offer any false hope but I can state this: The resiliency of the human body and mind when paired with the relentless will to live is something that both shocks, inspires, and disproves members of the medical community every day all across the world.

We have a grandson that had a tbi (age 12) from getting hit and drug under a car. they did not expect him to survive. But he did and we have Madonna rehab to thank for this and a lot of prayer. I am concerned now that our grandson is playing soccer and has no helmet. As someone who has worked in a hospital for 20 plus years this literally makes me sick to my stomach. I am a firm believer in prayer-it is one of the best forms of medicine.

I suffered from a TBI in the beginning of 2006 due to a car crash that killed my friend and put me in a coma for 2 months. i'm blessed to even talk about it today,(13 years later) because the doctors at North-Western Hospital thought I would die overnight or be a vegetable. I'm here to say the devil is a lie. I'm working a great job at Costco as of now(7 years) and was working at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital(5 years) after I completed rehab. I have a wonderful woman who accepts me for me and tries to smooth out the few flaws i may have. I have plans to make her my wife and live happy ever after a T.B.I. I'm sharing my story because maybe it will give someone else with or without a T.B.I. motivation to keep pushing in life.
Learn From Yesterday
Live For Today
Plan For Tomorrow

Wow, it's great that you are doing well but made you survive this ordeal it's one of the hardest things I had to see me & my family go through my mother had an accident in 2018 has tbi but was confusing is one day she's strong and happy but other days depressed or angry. Are this symptoms for life.

Thank you ! My father had a accident where he fell 20 ft and thanks to god he is still alive. They also said to us he would'nt live . He seems mentally good , but I'm worried about whether he'll fully recover or have problems living on us own . The unknown is scary ..
You gave me hope .

Hullo, My daughter who is now 34yrs old had a horrific car accident when she was 16yrs old. Skull laceration and her whole face was squashed, could not see her eyes. It was a terrifiying time as the ambulance people did not think that she would survive, her whole scalp was torn off. She also broke a vertebrae in her back. Since this accident she suffers from schyzophrenia, headaches, hallucinations etc. I did not realise that this could of been brought on by her accident. I need some advice and help as she cannot keep a job for long, cannot sustain or have any relationships and is generally struggling with everyday living. I need some help and guidance please

If I could get any ideas on where to get my loved one help it would be greatly appreciated. He is 47 and in a tailspin on his way to hurting himself or someone else or both. He was in the many and intoxicated and jumped or fell from a 3rd story balcony and broke his face and his femur. He was in a coma for at least over a month. Once he was released from the hospital he was given an honorable discharge from the navy with no help or benefits from that point on. He was not mentally stable enough to realize this for at least a couple of years down the road. This all happened in 1995. He has such behavioral problems stemming from the TBI no one wants to give him the time of day let alone help him. I see it up close later as he realizes how bad his behavior becomes it makes him so depressed and antisocial. Through my own struggles, I have had a therapist and u have repeatedly asked about special counselors who may be trained to deal with this problem. So far no help. So his TBI long teem effect is whats keeping him from getting helo with his long term TBI effect. Ita getting worse by the minute. He has a warped perception of everyone and everything. Are there any places that could maybe help him out????? He has a huge heart but a lot of times he doesn't know that. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories and struggles.

I am wondering if anti deppressants might help. I mean with th help of the doctor checking on his progress untill they get the dose just right. I do wood craft from home and make things for people who take orders . It gives me a little income and keeps me occupied. I am happier doing things to help others and being rewarded in more ways than one.

He needs to seek help from a Neuropsychologist. There are also Brain Injury Associations in each state.

Last week I was assaulted by a perfect stranger at a busy intersection. He first struck me on the temple with what I percieved to be a heavy handled walking stick. It peened me directly on the top of my left temple hard. A small indentation smaller then a quarter. Aside from the kneeing to the upper abdominal are, kicking at my knees , hit to the chin and assorted other defensive wounds I survived. I was stunned at the first hit to the head, have amnesia of the actual incident. Did not loose pass out but was still standing in the same place for 10 min without moving or being communicative. When I came to reality I was in the still in the intersection, moved off to the side feeling no pain till 8 hrs later. I did not go to ER. I did see my family Dr 3 days later as my judgement became increasingly unstable, with nausea and dizziness. He wants me to have a CT scan in two days as I am in a rural area. I am not sure about doing that as this is after the fact by a week. I am not thrilled about being radiated 500 times more then the usual xRay to my head and eye area as those scans do not detect concussion. I am 63 years old , own my own small business and this incident is financially burdening me as I cannot focus to do my job. 3 hrs is the most I can tolerate. From what I read here I need to learn to adjust to the side affects of the assault.

At age 8, I absorbed a traumatic brain injury when a football-size rock hit the top of my head. The whole incident was swept under the rug by my family. Needless to say, I have been creating my own rehab and winging it for about 48 years. Twenty-plus years of military life did wonders and was very instrumental in the direction I am now on. I am currently working on a book that details my experiences and findings. A number of TBI aspects are controversial and grossly misunderstood by societies all over. This book, projected to be a fifty-year chronicle, will be therapeutically beneficial to myself and others, God willing.

My cousin was hit by a rock in the head when she was five and subsequently needed to be operated on to remove rock fragments from her brain. Her mother was a mental patient her entire life, her step-father verbally and sometimes physically abusive. She swears she thinks her brain was injured. She has had a terrible life, the details of which I will not go into here (not in the mood to write a book). But the recurring theme I've noticed throughout her life is a total lack of common sense. Can a brain injury do this but have no other obvious effects? What do you think? She's quite intelligence otherwise. Thank you for whatever help you can give.

Grossly misunderstood! The more I learn, the more I'm realizing how interconnected all of these difficulties are that my loved one with a tbi has been having. We have been pushed in several different directions, and no providers we've worked with seems to understand the intricacies of tbi and how it impacts a person's mind/body. I'm sorry you had to experience that alone. Even after just a year of being with my partner and seeing people minimize and misunderstand his experience has been so frustrating. You must be a highly resilient individual to overcome all of this on your own. Thank God for the military and how it has helped you. I wish you all the best. I'm sure your book help many others. xx

In 2002 I suffered a TBI due to an car accident (Frontal Lobe Damage). I had to be helicopter flown to the ER. I don't even remeber the accident I just go by the accounts of the other passengers (my family members). Anyways after the accident all I remember is waking up in the hospital a few days later smh. I thought i was in a dream/nightmare so I tried to escape the hospital but my pelvis was broken so i just fell to the floor lol. Fast foward I went through rehab and all of that and recovered fine supposedly. I hadn't been to a doctor since like 2003 and it is now 2019 and i feel like shit!! I can't even work due to the headaches, social anxiety, I even fear coming outside sometimes. You're probably wondering, "well why haven't he been to a doctor?..". Its because I truly fear hospital scenarios, doctors offices and the likes. Also I have no health insurance so what am I to do? I applied for disability but due to lack of evidence they denied me of course. I havent worked since Oct 2018 and I'm feeling like I am about to give up on life. I love working I'm only 30 yrs old, but it seems impossible with the anxiety, depression, memory loss blah blah blah. May The Most High bless us all!! We are troopers SURVIVORS!!

Hi~ and I’m sorry that you are going through this ~ I have a son who had longboard accident almost 3 years ago with frontal right lobe damage.... due to complications over all he had 4 open brain surgery and with VP shunt in his brain permanently
You need number one to go to social worker in your area and explain about your condition and apply for Medicaid which will allow you to go seek medical care for free and seek help for food if you need
They are help out there you would just need to do research and most definitely reach out to Brain Injury association in your area .... people with all different head injuries are there and they have all the resources for you
I am his mom and caregiver he is doing great trying to work into DVR ...
A program that helps people to place a job or train for free
God is good he has plan for you keep seeking you will find help

Don't give up, keep pushing forward, I am actually dealing with my fiance that is in rehab currently and has been for the last 4 weeks, spent 3 weeks in icu due to a motorcycle accident, he is refusing therapy but the hardest part is not being able to be there with him. He has frontal lobe damage and CM thinks he may not possibly ever be able to make his own decisions, I'd like some feed back and to know what is possible.

Don't give up. My son was in a motorcycle accident july 12, 2019. He also has frontal lobe damage. You gotta get him to understand that he needs the rehabilitation. My son will need intense therapy and we are currently working to get guardianship of him. It is so sad. But I'll take him any day like this rather than 6ft under. Prayers to you

My husband had a TBI several years ago. Now he is experiencing many problems that he has not be having. One thing I have noticed is that pain meds, certain supplements such as weight loss and bodybuilding, and energy drink really affect him adversely. It's so bad that I can stand living with him. I have tried in vain to find any studies done of this. I have had to fight with him over and over to get him to not take these things. He will be turning 70 soon. Any comments appreciated.

Debbie, I totally understand where you are coming from. We had this problem as well. Started with a 2 yr Vicodin prescription, convinced him that it was NOT helping, he's been experimenting with "natural" treatments ever since. Everything seems to make things worse, when I call for a total detox because it is unbearable, I am told that I"don't understand". I have nothing but sympathy for all those living with TBI, and I try to be supportive, but it is so hard on those of us who are living with someone who is living with TBI.

Hi im currently 27 y/o male sustained a TBI at the age of 18 june of 2010 and now years after im having memory problems severe dificulty with trying to get my life in order manage money bank account ect. I do admit im also a late bloomer in life i realize that its not to late at my age to start my life and work a job but the problem is i feel mentally limited i sound and act normal disability is saying they dont see a problem( calling me a liar pretty much) but my neuropsych said im not and i know it my memory has gone to crap my emotions are all out of whack and my ability to manage things like a normal person has gone to crap. i woke up in august of 2016 cant remember the exact day but thats when everything went all downhill for me short term memory is there its not what it use to be my long term memory seems like its messed up latley im so down about not being able to be on my own i feel as if maybe i need to be dependant on someone to help me manage my life i cant take this please someone tell me what do i do. i left out what happened sorry i had jumped off the back of a car at like 35 mph and fractured my skull my brain hit the side of my skull i ruptured a main arterie on my brain and had a subdural hematomo shifted my brain lining of my brain was swollen had little to no side effects at all after the accident thank God but now i have these issues years later? i just want an accurate diagnosis i strongly believe there is something more to this than just memory loss. my neuropsych said its complications from the brain injury i got i dont know what to do my parents aren't in good health i dont have long untill maybe they perish i have to get it together the thing is i feel so limited in my abiltys now to the point where its interfearing with my everyday life what do i do. Sorry if this is to long.

Hi! When I was 5 years old I was accidentally struck in the head with a garden hoe. I was bleeding really bad and was admitted for 3 days. I received multiple stitches and now (23) I don't feel I have had any noticeable problems maybe because I have lived with them my whole life? I do have light sensitivity and have to put all of my electronics on night shift mode as well as wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day. I think I got roughly 30 stitches but I don't know if this would be considered a moderate TBI or severe? I also ran face first into a corner of a wall and passed out resulting in 7 stitches. Thank you!!

Another motorcycle accident here
2 frontal lobe bleeders, accident 2 years ago , severe loss of consciousness. I am scared to death, short term memory gone, I was a construction superintendent, and I went back to work, n
But it got worse. Vertigo, frigging memory, stuttering.. Dr said it was a severe head injury when I say head injry. Getting EEG THIS week. Y
The headaches are worse.
Does this get worse over time, Dr says we wait for tests. What can I do to make it better.

Hang in there. My son is going through his second TBI. Second motorcycle accident. Praying

My heart and prayers go out to you. My son had a car accident in 2017.
It was and still is... I'm getting emotional just typing!

You know I love you with ALL my heart and You will make it through this. Love you Bro!

Its ok. How old were you when this happened? I am 34 years old right now. I was 31 when this happened to me. I was on my way to work on friday january 13th when this happened? I was involved in a horrible car accident that almost killed me when some woman tried to pass 2 cars and hit me on a farm to market road. What I'm trying to get at is the good better best rule. Good better best, never let it rest until the good is better and the better becomes best. Try to remember something that happened throughout the day and write it down so you can have help remembering it. Then later try to remember it. If you cant then you have something to go back and look at that will jog your memory. Do that every day until that becomes a habit.

its been 6 years from that day, the headache and vertigo and paresthesia is always there, maintained, not intensifying or slowing down, my doc, gave me some pain relievers(paradrin forte) it helped a bit specially at bedtime.

Consider medical cannabis. I had a TBI in 2006, lamictal until 2010, and used cannabis to ween off of the lamictal.

find a neuropsychologist that accepts your insurance then get a Qeeg of the brain-3D imagery-get neurofeedback and buy a alpha stim

Rick, I was thrown thru the windshield of an 18 wheeler - head first - in 1992 when I was 25 years old. I wasn't wearing my seatbelt. I fractured T1 & T2 of my spine as well. A helicopter came out, landed in the median & rushed me to the hospital. THAT ONE EVENT, the chopper picking me up, is why I can walk, talk & LIVE today. When a head injury occurs - you have just MINUTES to get the patient to a hospital or to a physician before permanent severe damage or even death happens. I have been seeing one of the FINEST Neurologists in the world for over a decade in Atlanta, GA. I brought up the subject of severe migraines to him directly several years ago. His reply was "they will NEVER go away - and may even worsen." When I asked what I could do - he simply recommended keeping Advil on hand. I will tell you this, from someone raised on strict nutrition regimes, low sodium in your body will only contribute to migraines. As an added frustration - my anti seizure meds absorb the sodium out of my body as an unavoidable side effect of the drug. So. I take the small 10 mg Allergy Relief sinus tablets twice a day. One in morning and one in evening. They TRULY help decrease my migraines. Also, try to maintain an above average consumption of salt in your diet - unless you have other health issues that would be endangered due to increased sodium. Trust me. This regime will decrease your migraines. Has worked for me for over 10 years. Do I still get a migraine here or there? Absolutely .... but I simply try to blame my girlfriend for that. *smile* Just so you know, I have SEVERE short term memory (which will never be cured and I have learned to deal with). I am always exhausted and tired. I am your "model" TBI survivor. Better known as "The Walking Wounded" ....... In a mall or at a ballgame - no one knows I am permanently disabled .....

How long did it take you to recover to be able to live on your own. Trying to get answers to better prepare myself for what is ahead, my fiance was in a motorcycle accident July 29th and is now in rehab but still not able to make decisions or answer certain things, I'm worried he will never come back home.

My story is different, but with the same result.

motorcycle accident here, back in march 15, 2013, i got into a motorcycle accident, was a normal day to say the least, that afternoon, decided to go out with my friends on a little motocross practice, i got on my motorcycle and went a few laps, on the last lap, after going over the finish line jump, i slowed down and took off my helmet and went back to my teams area, then suddenly my bike slid, went off balance, my head hit a rock, went straight to coma 10 days, but i dont remember any of those, my friends told me about what happened and when i woke up, i dont know anything, even for the next 4 months, ive got pharesthesia on my right leg, sold my motorcycles since i cant take it anymore, lost my balance, mild vertigo 24/7, but i go to the gym sometimes and i bought a few gym equips here at home. i said that to myself too, i wont stop, keep pushing forward. been having occasional headaches, vertigo always there, there are times its a bit more stronger than usual, but amid all this, i thank GOD im still here, alive and breathing.

I had a Tbi 12 yrs ago and have had 10 years of happy healthy living with no symptoms except capacity - where I could get mentally overloaded and adjusted accordingly.
Yeseterday I had a long very emotionally exhausting day handling an old family members affairs and knew I had reached my capacity but then daughter phoned with issues I felt compelled to hear and help with. After this overload I became dizzy by the time I got into bed I had the full room spinning couldn’t lie down symptoms that I had for the first 2 years after tbi. Was able to sleep some but every time I got up I could barely walk from the spinning. Now this morning I feel brain injured again for the first time in10 years. Heavy head eyes feel slow small glitches in speech if I move my head it feels like it does after you recover from a headache very slow. I am wondering if I had a bleed in my brain again or if this is just results of a super stressful day.

I think it is a result of a super stressful day. but go see doctor get a second opinion.

I was assaulted at work nearly three years ago. My treatments are covered by worker's compensation, however, to get what I need takes months of fighting with them about whether the issue at hand has anything to do with a TBI or is even related to the assault at all.

I've had nearly constant headaches since the assault, trouble with keeping my eyes open, light sensitivity, hyperacusis, difficulty reading or concentrating and yet the Independent Medical Evals I had two weeks ago says there is nothing wrong with me.

I've had doctors telling me it is a result of head trauma sustained during the assault and since I had none of these things before the assault, I believe them.

I don't know what to do. How do I make them listen? Any of the treatments recommended for me lose their efficacy as time goes by.

My husband was injured in a work accident. He hit his head & injured his neck. I knew something was really wrong with him, the psychiatrist sent him for some cognitive testing & they found the TBI!!!! It is a battle everyday for us both!!!!! There's a clinic in New Orleans where they've been treating my husband with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. He is in the last of his treatments. I'm not saying he's cured or how long this will help, but he's calmer. His memory is so so. Short term isn't good!!! But we'll be starting a new waiting game to see how it goes!!!! Good luck to you with hugs & prayers!!!!

I had a head injury 13 years ago, a football was shot towards my head and I was 7 years old at that time, it ruptured my right optic nerve and left me blind in that eye. I had some series of treatments done at different hospitals to recover vision in that eye but to no avail. I noticed that I have problems with my memory, I can’t seem to remember some past events and of recent I have familiar triggers that makes me not remember anything after the trigger occurs. The worst trigger that I can remember was when I finished bathing, on coming out of the bathroom I forgot who I was and where I was. I later recollected who and where I was but it was really scary and I would like to know if there’s anything I can do to prevent a recurrence of this memory lapse.

Does anyone know what effects being shot with a taser can have on a person's brain??

One case study in 2012 documented a 27-year old man who had one of the two Taser darts penetrate his skull (frontal lobe) and 2 mm into the brain itself. In his case, the long-term effects (6+ months) were anxiety, strong frontal headaches during physical activity, as well as unease with the number of people who were looking at his forehead, due to the scar from the operation. There were no signs of physical damage (apart from the skull penetration), though it should be noted that tests were done with a CT scanner, not an MRI. A CT is faster (used for emergency situations like this) but not nearly as precise. It would have been nice to see follow-up MRI's or fMRI's.

Of course, like any TBI, no two cases are the same. Age, health, prior neurological conditions, where the barbs hit, and a hundred other things can all affect the outcome. Target position is also a big factor; if you get zapped, fall and hit your head, that may cause more brain damage than the shock itself (though the brain has protections to minimize/negate damage from lighter impact, such as a simple fall to the ground). As the cited case sounds like it is one of the more extreme (with regards to the brain), it seems that the risk of brain injury from being tased is probably very low.


I wish you could shed some light about living with the person with a moderate TBI. My husband exhibits EVERY one of your list of 'OTHER POTENTIAL EFFECTS' since his minor stroke and major fall last June. The only one they left out was multiple suicide attempts. Meanwhile, I AM GOING CRAZY. I get side effects from antidepressants, tranquilizers, and I don't drink and will not smoke weed. I've been seeing two counselors a week since last November, but that doesn't change the patient. I'm not a nurse. I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, angry, and frustrated. "Support" groups where I listen to everyone else tell about their horrible lives only make me more desperate. No one mentions the devastation to the family after a TBI.

Not sure if those of you who are caregivers have noticed that this site has an entire section for caregivers -- https://www.brainline.org/caregivers.
Don't sell yourself short. Caregiving is a very difficult thing and some people who had a TBI are just impossible. One lady I know of ended up breaking off the relationship with her fiancee because his behavior was impossible for her to cope with. He lied, started smoking again and smoked in her house even though she asked him not too. He drank a lot and also have anger and irritability problems among many other things. If you are having overwhelming trouble dealing with your partner and you have tried everything and decide to give up, please don't feel guilty. You have every right to a safe and enjoyable life. Your partner is going to be dealing with his/her problems whether you are there or not... take care of and love yourself. You deserve that.

Every one of these stories is unique, and we all have only one life to live, therefore we just have to keep on searching every avenue there is for personal help and strategies to find it easier to cope with the looney times that are inevitable with a husband or wife that " isn't all there "... My husband drank Cheracol D at age 3 1/2, which sent him into a tailspin of afflictions - blindness (4 eye operations gave him back his sight) coma (not sure how long, I believe it was 3 months) limp on one side of his body, stiff on the other, 20% of his brain was burnt up from a 112 degree fever, Encephalitis, etc. etc. He has held menial jobs and half way decent ones, but is now, thankfully, retired. We both had extreme issues with jobs, and out and out mean spiritedness from co-workers, I having severe ADD since childhood. I've been a Christian since Aug 11th of 1970, it has kept me from taking drugs or drinking, which would have resulted in a bigger fiasco than it sometimes is. Only God can keep us sane through the trials and tribulations of a TBI, that is for sure and certain. So glad He saved me and keeps me through whatever the future holds. Someday we'll be in heaven, and all this will be long gone, not even to be remembered !! Jesus died that you could live.

I completely understand how you feel as I struggle with the same thing! My husband was injured in a car accident 30 years ago which left him in a coma for over a month. Once he left the hospital, he NEVER returned to a doctor for care. Our relationship has been falling apart because he refused to see a doctor about his increasing symptoms (nearly EVERY ONE on this list). I am beyond exhausted and stressed from constantly picking up the slack. Today, he FINALLY went to see someone and was told he may have fluid building up on his brain as a result of the accident and increasing with age. I can't help but wonder if things would have gotten so bad if he'd taken some responsibility for himself at some point all those years ago while I encouraged him to see a specialist.

I am sorry you have to go through that. As a brain aneurysm and stroke survivor, I can honestly say that he doesn’t want to be that way any more than you want him to be that way. I hope you can replace the anger and frustration with compassion, as this is a situation that we didn’t choose for ourselves and find it hard to be happy with ourselves as well.

Dear Mrs. Turner,
I just started reading Living With Brain Injury, a guide for families by Richard Senelick, MD & Karla Dougherty. This book may help if you don't already have it. Praying for you,
Sincerely, A Barnes

Hello everyone,

After reading this article and the comments below, I can clearly identify with all of the struggles that are being lamented about by all of you. 
My TBI happened at work, when a stack of serving trays (between 50-100) fell on my head, neck, back and shoulder-left side. I was told that all I had was a concussion, but as I have been researching about this condition, I realize that I was inappropriately diagnosed because the insurance company did not want to pay. I could go on about how I was lied to, misinformed, made to feel like a fraud, etc.; but that is just the icing on the cake.  The point is that I understand what it is like for you all and I am very glad that so many people are speaking out about this.
I can't see most of the time when I am trying to work, or even get through school.  I can't remember most things when I am stressed; almost like my brain shuts down.  I now have CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) which is awful because it is always triggering some form of narcolepsy as well.  Now I am pregnant and I see how the symptoms of TBI don't go away or get easier without the right treatment. ( I was denied the proper medical treatment during the most crucial points of my time to heal). 
All people seemed to care about then was when I would be ready to go back to work, and when I could become my old self again. I can do some of the stuff that I used to do, but not without being extremely fatigued and aching to the point of temporary immobility.  Some days it really is mind over matter.  Meditating on scriptures, prayer, and peaceful environments help.  However, when certain stressful event occurs, it takes me a minute to recover.  Social interactions are a challenge as well.  I have little to no tolerance for things that used to be fairly easy for me to ignore.  I am better when I have time to myself to reflect on what I am doing and where I am going.  I tend to get lost sometimes, even with places that I am familiar with. When I take certain medications, I do not have this problem as much, but now that  I am pregnant I cannot medicate to help with the symptoms so that I can work.  The TBI has effected my personality as well.  As I stated earlier, I have little to no patience for certain things that I generally did not disturb my peace at all. 
If there is anyone who can recommend a treatment center that I can visit, please reach out! 
I am a firm believer in help form our Heavenly Father, but I also understand that practicality goes a long way. 
Thank you for sharing all of your experiences.  It has been truly helpful and encouraging to know that I am not alone and someone understands.  As a mother-to-be, I am more determined to get all of the help that I can so that my child can have the best life possible. 
Thank you for reading. 
Yah bless!

I am currently going through TBI recovery. Everything was downplayed because it was a Worker's Comp. I had two 6 foot by 5 foot cabinets, fully stocked fall on me. I don't remember it happening. I was rushed to the hospital where I also received 20 stitches. Thankfully, despite the WC not helping, my wonderful boss has helped me immensely. I still have horrible headaches, dizziness, nausea. I am on emotional rollercoaster and going through all kinds of the listed symptoms. However, my point is; my boss has paid for me to go to a specialty clinic called Turning Point Medical Center. Excellent, top notch treatment and staff. I live in CO Springs, and I am fortunate to have 2 clinics nearby. However, I know they treat people from all over the world. You can look into this specialty rehab. Hope this helps. Yah Bless you!

First I want to thank everyone who has posted here. Nobody knows the pure struggle of a TBI but those who have lived it.

3 1/2 years ago I was in a high-speed MVA where I went over my steering wheel and airbag and into my windshield. I wasn't diagnosed right away with a moderate TBI. Just another concussion that I figured would go away just like the others. Boy was I wrong.

The hell kicked in about one week after the accident and really changed my life. I was pretty much in bed for the first year barely living. I have made a pretty much miraculous recovery in my view and I am so thankful to the Lord for the progress I have made.

With that said, man, there can really be some hard days and even some weeks. I will be doing great with minimal problems and I start to feel like "Yeah, I got this and this may be over," only to have a quick turn around and start falling fast. It usually begins with stress from work. "stress," that would have been nothing to my former self. But I just can't handle any stress it seems. I can NEVER let it go and so I avoid it like the plague which is just not possible and not very healthy in its own right as I want to challenge myself to grow but at the same time I need to work to pay the bills and I know the stress can lead to a complete and total "shutdown." I wonder if anyone here is like that as well; I am sure there are plenty.

I guess I am looking for some affirmation or something on this one but the hardest part for me is this feeling of  "NOT CAPABLE OF STARTING," anything. I'm not lazy, I don't feel depressed. In contrast, I am actually a very motivated person and I come up with plans and ideas ALL the time about what I want to accomplish but 90% of the time I just can't figure out how to START. Most of the time after my wife gets me started (which is usually just a small step) I can take it from there...but may not complete it :) It's very hard to explain. It feels like my brain just literally will not move when it comes to starting something and it really hurts my confidence. I have been told it is Adynamia. Whatever it is, I will not quit until I beat it because out of everything that my TBI causes or has caused ( Crying, confusion, anxiety, exhaustion, etc..) this is the worst for me.

I pray for all of you and all of your families. There may be nothing harder than a TBI but just know through prayer and dedication you can live a happy and purposeful life. Good luck to all of you and God bless.