Symptoms

Once someone receives a blow to the head, any number of signs can indicate a brain injury. It's also possible that there may not be any obvious indication at first. But most brain injuries do reveal symptoms that help people diagnose and treat brain injury. A brain injury can affect a person physically and psychologically, and sometimes the symptoms don't appear immediately.

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The Four "Baskets" of Concussion Symptoms

The Four "Baskets" of Concussion Symptoms
[Dr. Robert Cantu] Parents need to know what concussion symptoms are. That they fall in four different baskets. That there are emotional symptoms like being more anxious, like flying off the handle more easily. That there are cognitive symptoms like difficulty with school work, difficulty remembering, difficulty learning. It's like the brain is working more slowly. There are sleep symptoms, like sleeping more than usual, which is usually what you have right after a concussion, and then later on it may be sleeping less than usual or trouble falling asleep. And then by far and away the greatest basket of symptoms are what we call physical symptoms or somatic symptoms such as headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, those kinds of things.

Learn Why Aggression, Irritability, and Depression Are Common After Brain Injury

Learn Why Aggression, Irritability, and Depression Are Common After Brain Injury
Individuals showing aggressive or irritable behavior is also very common after brain injury--of various severities, whether it's mild, moderate, or severe. And some individuals just will become verbally aggressive and lash out, but some people will also become physically aggressive. We know that depression is certainly a risk factor for aggressive behavior, so it occurs more commonly when people are depressed, but it also is stemming from some of the areas of the brain that are injured. So, if you have injury to the front part, the prefontal cortex, the result of that is disinhibiting other areas of the brain. So you have disinhibition of other impulses. So, things that people may think about and not do without a brain injury, they will do without thinking after a brain injury.

Testing Memory, Attention, Behavior, and Much More

Testing Memory, Attention, Behavior, and Much More
You know--the hallmark, I guess, of people with TBI is working with memory, attention, and behavioral issues. Memory and attention are fairly easy to understand. There are a lot of strategies and interventions to work with them. But they're very common, and people work with them. The other issue is working around behavioral issues because we often don't realize that our behavior is mediated by our brain, and how our brain processes information. So helping people to increase their awareness of what kind of behavioral changes they're exhibiting, helping other people around them understand what kind of behavioral changes their loved one is exhibiting, and coming up with ways to monitor and be able to intervene and to improve some of those situations for the individual. Those are the more common ones. Some of the less common ones that we see sometimes are some kind of visual deficits, not 20-20 vision, but how you interpret visual information, how you accommodate to perhaps depth perception problems or to focusing problems, those kinds of things. You can get some inner ear and some balance, some body position difficulties. Sometimes we'll work with those. Those are less common. The hallmarks really are the memory and the attention and the behavioral changes.

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