What Are The Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Posted on April 27, 2021
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The brain is an all-important organ that is responsible for controlling voluntary and involuntary bodily functions. Most patients fully recover from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that cause short-term disruptions to the brain’s ability to properly function. Some, however, suffer severe TBIs with long-term effects that last for months, years or life.
Loss of Motor Skills
The brain controls the body’s motor system, mostly using the frontal lobes. It sends outputs for coordinating movements through the spinal cord to move specific muscles. If a certain part of the brain gets injured and can no longer function the way it should, this can affect the victim’s motor function and fine motor skills.
Some of the long-term physical effects of a traumatic brain injury may include difficulty walking, standing, jumping, holding heavy items, balancing, coordinating complex movements and writing. Although physical therapy and rehabilitation can help, with severe traumatic brain injuries, the impact on the victim’s motor skills can be permanent.
A TBI can impact the sensory and perceptual parts of the brain, leading to long-term changes in hearing, vision and sensation. A severe brain injury can result in hearing problems such as chronic tinnitus, diminished hearing or increased sensitivity to sounds. It can also cause long-term blurred vision, involuntary eye movements and loss of vision. Some patients also note trouble with touch, such as difficulty perceiving temperature and mixing up touch and pressure.
Damage to any part of the brain can result in long-term cognitive challenges. Some patients are able to restore their cognitive abilities over time with exercises, treatments and therapies. Others, however, suffer long-lasting cognitive problems, such as:
Confusion or disorientation
Difficulty thinking or problem-solving
Trouble with math or reading
Problems with comprehension
Lack of attention span
Problems with motivation
Impaired empathy towards others
The cognitive effects of a traumatic brain injury can make it difficult or impossible for a victim to return to his or her normal life. The victim may have to receive training for a different type of career, for example, or may struggle in school.
If the part of the brain in charge of speech and language (the left hemisphere) gets injured, it can impact the victim’s ability to articulate ideas and correctly use language to communicate. The victim may also have physical trouble using the tongue and throat, leading to difficulty talking and swallowing. These issues can reduce a victim’s quality of life by blocking the ability to communicate.
Personality or Behavioral Changes
Many patients with serious brain injuries report changes in their moods, personalities and behaviors. This is because the limbic system of the brain governs emotions, thoughts and feelings. Changes to how the brain works after a serious injury can lead to long-term alterations in how the victim acts and behaves. The victim may be more prone to outbursts, anger or irritability after a TBI, for example.
Increased Risk of Certain Medical Conditions
Studies have shown that suffering a brain injury puts a patient at an increased risk of developing certain medical and mental health conditions later in life. Even if the victim appears to have fully recovered physically from the TBI, he or she can remain vulnerable to mental health disorders for decades. These may include:
Depression and anxiety
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
It is not always possible to recover from a traumatic brain injury. Many victims experience long-lasting or chronic effects that significantly interfere with their lives. If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in an accident in Dallas, do not hesitate to contact an attorney for legal advice on how to fight for justice and financial compensation.