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How a Traumatic Brain Injury Can Lead to Risks of Suicide

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Traumatic brain injuries and mental health have a close connection. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to many physical, emotional and behavioral changes in a survivor. These changes could cause an overall decrease in a survivor’s enjoyment and/or quality of life. A TBI may also cause conditions such as depression and anxiety. Together, these factors unique to TBIs could ultimately increase the risk of suicide.

TBIs and Suicide

 Multiple studies have shown a link between TBIs and suicidal thoughts and actions in survivors. Most of these studies identify the highest risk of suicide in the first six months after a brain injury. Daily struggles with symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and cognitive issues can drive some patients to suicide. The risk of suicide is around three times as high in the first six months after a TBI than afterward, according to some estimates. An extensive study in Denmark, however, focused on the long-term increases in the risk of suicide for people with TBIs.

 In the long term, a traumatic brain injury can alter the way the brain works, making it difficult for a survivor to do things he or she used to be able to do easily. These may include exercising, enjoying favorite activities, engaging in sports or hobbies, playing with kids, comprehending basic facts, and communicating with loved ones. A TBI can impact communication, comprehension, basic math skills, memory, motor skills and more. These changes can lead to depression in survivors, who may start to feel hopeless or frustrated about the future. Issues such as losing one’s job can exacerbate these feelings.

 A TBI can also impact a survivor’s emotions, leading to feelings the person may not have had before. These can include frustration, irritability, insensitivity, aggression, anger and sadness. Personality changes and issues such as mood swings and outbursts are also common. Overwhelming negative feelings on top of difficulties with day-to-day activities or an overall decrease in quality of living can increase the risk of suicide for someone with a brain injury. 

traumatic brain injury lead to suicide

Warning Signs of Suicide in a TBI Survivor

 If you have a loved one who survived a traumatic brain injury, keep the increased risk of suicide in mind. Watch for any potential warning signs of depression or suicidal thoughts. Life events such as divorce, substance abuse, unemployment, or depression diagnoses can make suicidal thoughts or actions even more likely. Detectable signs can mean a heightened risk of suicide in the following minutes or days. Act quickly to get your loved one help if you notice any red flags.

  • Making statements about suicide
  • Threatening self-harm
  • Seeking access or information to means of suicide
  • Talking about feelings of hopelessness
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Posting about suicide on social media
  • Purchasing a gun
  • Refusing to receive treatment for depression
  • Isolating oneself
  • Abusing alcohol and/or drugs
  • Displaying severe mood swings

 If you notice any potential signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in your loved one, take immediate action. Request assistance from a crisis hotline 24/7, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). Do not leave your loved one alone. Call 911 if you have an emergency. Tell a trusted friend or family member about what is happening. Encourage your loved one to talk about his or her feelings with a professional. Do not keep any promises to keep suicidal thoughts a secret. Offer support by being someone your loved one can talk to, setting up professional assistance, encouraging communication, and reassuring him or her that things will get better.

Your Legal Rights as Someone With a TBI

 If you or a family member sustained a traumatic brain injury in a preventable accident in Texas, consider your legal rights while you seek treatments for your physical and emotional injuries. The person who caused your accident may be legally responsible for your TBI and related treatments – including psychological care and therapies. A defendant may be liable for your emotional distress, mental anguish and lost quality of life as well as your economic damages. Contact a Dallas brain injury lawyer for advice about a TBI lawsuit and emotional distress.

Posted by admin at 5:00 pm

What Is the Difference Between a Concussion and a TBI?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have numerous detrimental effects. Though each injury is unique, a person with a TBI may experience emotional disturbances, changes in cognition, memory loss, insomnia, and other symptoms. It can be difficult to understand the differences in the types of TBI, which may go by different names. Learn the varying degrees of TBI and what to expect from each condition.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is one of the mildest types of TBI. It results from an external force, such as blow or bump to the head. Concussions may also arise from falls or other outside trauma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the most common causes of concussions are falls, motor vehicle accidents, playing recreational sports, and violent crime.

A concussion usually results from the brain making contact with your skull. A doctor may describe a concussion as a mild TBI, because it’s usually not life-threatening. Still, concussions vary widely in severity and may lead to long-term complications, especially if the victim suffers multiple concussions or does not receive appropriate treatment.

Concussions can present a variety of symptoms and warning signs, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Disorientation or mental confusion
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Inability to concentrate

Treatment for a concussion generally involves resting the brain. This means no driving, reading, playing sports, or even watching TV. With appropriate treatment, a concussion will typically resolve within a few days and the victim can resume normal activity with a doctor’s approval.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Other types of brain injuries fall under the realm of TBI, with classifications of mild, moderate, or severe. In general, a TBI is any injury to the brain caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head or a violent shaking motion. A TBI can greatly affect a victim’s capacity to learn, think, and control his or her emotions.

A TBI is an acquired injury (meaning not present at birth) that creates a partial or complete impairment or functional disability. The effects may be physical, cognitive, or social. A person who suffers a TBI may have trouble with:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Thinking
  • Judgment
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Problem solving
  • Information processing
  • Speech
  • Sensory perception

TBIs may arise from car accidents, falls, or other forms of trauma. In children, TBIs may occur from abuse, such as shaken baby syndrome.

Symptoms of TBI

The symptoms of a TBI may vary significantly depending on the nature of the injury and the area of the brain involved. A person with a diagnosed TBI may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Cognitive symptoms such as difficulty speaking, mental confusion, an inability to concentrate, difficulty recognizing everyday items, or amnesia
  • Whole body symptoms such as loss of balance, dizziness, fatigue, or fainting
  • Behavioral symptoms such as inappropriate reactions to stimuli, aggression, lack of emotional regulation, repetition of words without purpose
  • Mood changes such as anxiety, apathy, or anger
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Sensory issues such as sensitivity to sound or light
  • Eye changes such as dilated pupils, uneven pupils, or dark circles under the eyes
  • Miscellaneous symptoms such as headache, bleeding, blurred vision, depression, seizures, or ringing in the ears

A concussion and a TBI may be terms people use interchangeably, but they have notable differences. A concussion is a form of TBI, and a mild one at that. Moderate or severe TBI can greatly affect a victim’s quality of life, often permanently. The effects of a concussion, on the other hand, are generally temporary. Concussions and TBI are similar in that they represent serious medical conditions that require appropriate care and follow-up treatment.

Posted by admin at 9:59 pm

Can a Concussion Impact Driving Ability?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A concussion can have detrimental effects that last for days, even weeks following the initial injury. Concussion victims often complain of a number of symptoms, from dizziness and mental confusion to headaches and sensitivity to light. It seems reasonable to assume that a concussion could affect your ability to drive. Learn how a concussion affects your brain, and the types of activity you should avoid while your body heals.

How Does a Concussion Affect Driving?

To appropriately understand how a concussion could affect your driving ability, it’s essential to know what a concussion is. This mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when your brain hits the tough bone of your skull. Normally, your brain floats in your skull, protected by cerebral spinal fluid. However, an outside force, or trauma, can cause your brain to sustain damage when it hits your skull.

A concussion can occur while participating in any number of activities, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies car accidents, falls, and sports-related events as the most common causes of concussions. If you have a concussion, you may complain of one or many of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Sensitivity to light
  • A blackout
  • Emotional disturbances

In the hours, days, or weeks following a blow to the head, you may experience any of these side effects. Most often, a person diagnosed with a concussion experiences dizziness, nausea, confusion, and difficulty focusing. These symptoms typically persist for 48 hours with a mild concussion, but a more severe trauma could lead to a longer recovery time.

When Can I Drive Following a Concussion?

If doctors have diagnosed you with a concussion, don’t get behind the wheel unless it’s safe to do so. You will likely receive discharge instructions from your health care provider that detail what precautions to take and when you can safely get behind the wheel. It’s essential to follow these instructions carefully.

Driving may seem like second nature to many, but it involves complex brain activity. For example, you must be cognitively aware of your surroundings and be prepared to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a crash. You must also have good hand-eye coordination to manipulate the wheel and complete basic driving maneuvers. A traumatic brain injury like a concussion can interfere with these abilities, so it’s best to avoid driving until a doctor gives you the green light.

Finally, your doctors will likely tell you to rest your brain, so it can heal. Depending on the severity of the injury, your providers may advise against reading, being out in the sun, or even watching TV, as it causes strain to your healing mind. Partaking in an activity such as driving can pose a danger to other drivers on the road, and it could hamper your recovery.

Take Care of Yourself After a Concussion

A concussion might not seem like a major injury, but any blow to the head requires careful attention. If you don’t take care of yourself, you could make your symptoms much worse or cause longer-lasting damage. A concussion, though on a milder scale, is still a traumatic brain injury. Follow your discharge orders and rest until a doctor gives you permission to resume your normal activities. Avoid driving while you recover, as you pose a danger to yourself and others.

Because of the nature of the injury, a concussion can affect your driving ability. It’s best to avoid any mentally engaging activities, including driving, until you feel well again. If you have any further questions or concerns, speak to your health care provider.

Posted by admin at 9:54 pm

What Is the Difference Between a Concussion and a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Brain injuries devastate families in ways more severe than almost any other type of injury one can suffer. The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., has been helping Texans in the Dallas area find relief after suffering brain injuries of all kinds. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries can leave the victims and their families with expensive medical bills and long rehabilitation that require time missed from work. Our attorneys have seen the effects of these injuries and know your case deserves meticulous attention and care for you to receive the benefits you are entitled to.

Sorting Out the Confusion

A traumatic brain injury is an injury that results in physical trauma to the brain. This usually comes from a blow to the head, or even an object penetrating the skull. The brain is a complex organ and damage to any part of it can have unpredictable results. Changes in personality or violent mood swings can result, as well as loss of concentration, and difficulties with memory retention and formation. Brain injury also can result in more serious damage, such as loss of motor skills and impairment of even basic functions such as feeding oneself or taking care of personal hygiene.

There is a range of injuries that can occur to the brain. Milder injuries may affect fewer tasks and cause fewer impairments for the victim of the injury. They also may heal within a few months and leave fewer lasting problems. More serious injuries, on the other hand, may result in severe physical or mental impairment.

Concussion as a Traumatic Brain Injury

A concussion is a milder form of a brain injury. This does not mean a concussion is not a serious injury; however, it may be less serious than other forms of traumatic brain injury.

Concussions can result in a number of serious symptoms including:

  • Bad headaches, including migraines
  • A fog of confusion that leaves victims unable to easily or clearly comprehend events going on around them
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating or problems with memory
  • Irritability and changes in personality
  • Heightened sensitivity to light and noise

These symptoms may be mild compared with more severe brain injuries, but they are often debilitating for victims. Concussion sufferers are also four to six times more likely to suffer another concussion in the future.

Brain Injury by the Numbers

The prevalence of traumatic brain injury nationwide, including concussions, is far too common. More than 900,000 traumatic brain injuries occur each year, and a number of these injuries happen in Texas (injured parties reported 23,000 traumatic brain injuries in Texas each year). This represents tens of thousands of people that brain injury impacts each year.

Falls are the most common source of these injuries including slip-and-falls suffered in a store or on a sidewalk; falls from scaffolds or ladders in the workplace; or trips over obstructions or damaged flooring on stairs. When an adult falls even from just standing height, the results are often injury to the brain.

The next most common source of brain injuries are motor vehicle accidents. Modern vehicles have sophisticated safety devices, but this has not prevented all injuries related to crashes. In Texas, approximately 7,200 hospitalizations for brain injuries result from motor vehicle accidents, and more than 9% of these injuries are fatal.

Traumatic Brain Injury Compared to Concussions

Concussions are one of the milder forms of traumatic brain injuries, but victims still suffer physical and mental effects. Traumatic brain injuries are common, and those who suffer them as a result of an accident may have many months of medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover from their injuries. Severe traumatic brain injuries may require years of treatment, and victims may never fully regain the mental and physical abilities they had before their injury.

Posted by admin at 10:30 pm