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What Does Brain Damage Feel Like

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What Does It Feel Like To Be Brain Damaged

A look at what a concussion feels like from the inside

Article Title: What Does it Feel Like to be Brain Damaged?Author: Frederick R. Linge, Clinical PsychologistSubmitted by: Craig LockCategory : head injury, brain injury, neuro-psychology, brain enhancementOther Articles are available at:

Publishing Guidelines:I hope that the following piece by Dr Frederick Linge may be informative and helpful to others. This article may be freely reproduced electronically or in print . If it helps anyone “out there in the often very difficult, but always amazing ‘journey of life’ in any way, then we’re very happy.

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow. *What Does it Feel Like to be Brain Damaged?

Introduction

It is generally accepted that people working with individuals who have any type of handicap, should have a certain amount of empathy with their clients and should strive to understand how their clients feel and think. People working with those who are brain damaged have a particularly hard time doing so. One can have some understanding of what it means to be blind by simply closing one?s eyes yet how can a normal person understand what it feels like to be brain damaged?

The Trauma

Early Communication Attempts

Time and Reality Orientation

Step-by-Step Recovery

Implications

The results of this damage were: lack of taste and smell, impaired short-term auditory and visual memory, lessened emotional control and a greater tendency toward depression.

Coping Needs

Regaining Independence

Cognitive Effects This Includes Changes In Thinking Abilities

Difficulty focusing mind seems to wander, easily distracted

Memory problems forget things short term, and/or spotty long term memories

Slowed thinking world feels too fast, cant keep up

Flooding brain gets overwhelmed and shuts down

Trouble understanding takes longer to learn

Learning from experience keeps doing the same things over and over

Perseveration excessive fixation on some thoughts, trouble letting go

Rigid thinking things are only black & white, there is no in-between

Difficulty with executive functions such as:

o Sequencing has trouble knowing what order to do things in

o Organizing is easily mixed up, misses things,

o Planning has trouble figuring out how to meet goals

o Reasoning has trouble understanding what is appropriate

o Decision Making has trouble looking at pros and cons of matters

o Problem solving has trouble looking at options in order to find good solutions

o Serial-tasking Has trouble trying to do more than one task at a time

How Are Brain Damage And Brain Injuries Treated

Anyone who has a head or brain injury needs immediate medical attention.

A brain injury that seems mild — referred to as a concussion — can be as dangerous as clearly severe injuries. The key factor is the extent and location of the damage. Brain injury does not necessarily result in long-term disability or impairment. But the correct diagnosis and treatment is needed to contain or minimize the damage.

The extent and effect of brain damage is determined by a neurological exam, neuroimaging testing such as MRI or CT scans, and neuropsychological assessments. Doctors will stabilize the patient to prevent further injury, ensure blood and oxygen are flowing properly to the brain, and ensure that blood pressure is controlled.

Almost all patients will benefit from rehabilitation to assist in long-term recovery. That may include:

  • Physical therapy

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What Happens If A Concussion Goes Untreated

It is not uncommon for people to underestimate the seriousness of a concussion. However, an untreated head injury may lead to persistent symptoms. These include sensitivity to light, sore eyes, and blurry vision, headaches, fatigue, and interrupted sleep, which could lead to emotional and cognitive issues.

What to Look for When Diagnosing Moderate to Severe Brain Injuries

The signs and symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injures can mimic those of milder injuries, and can also include the following in the first hours to days after the head injury:

  • Loss of consciousness lasting for several minutes to hours
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Coma

How Is Tbi Diagnosed

This is what a brain injury feels like

All TBIs require immediate assessment by a professional who has experience evaluating head injuries. A neurological exam will judge motor and sensory skills and test hearing and speech, coordination and balance, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior, among other abilities. Screening tools for coaches and athletic trainers can identify the most concerning concussions for medical evaluation.

Initial assessments may rely on standardized instruments such as the Acute Concussion Evaluation form from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2, which provide a systematic way to assess a person who has suffered a mild TBI. Reviewers collect information about the characteristics of the injury, the presence of amnesia and/or seizures, as well as the presence of physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep-related symptoms. The ACE is also used to track symptom recovery over time. It also takes into account risk factors that can impact how long it takes to recover from a TBI.

Diagnostic imaging. When necessary, medical providers will use brain scans to evaluate the extent of the primary brain injuries and determine if surgery will be needed to help repair any damage to the brain. The need for imaging is based on a physical examination by a doctor and a persons symptoms.

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Is It Possible To Have A Brain Injury Without Even Knowing It

With most traumatic brain injuries, it is usually evident to the patient or family members. But what about more minor brain injuries where its not immediately apparent that a brain injury has taken place? In other words, is it possible to have a traumatic brain injury without knowing it?

Even minor brain injuries may require post-acute rehabilitation in order to return the patient to their pre-injury condition. Staff can work with patients through therapy to help patients reduce symptoms and to return to activities of daily living without disruption.

Its essential to have a good understanding of brain injuries, symptoms, and recovery so you can support your loved one through the process of healing.

What Is A Brain Injury

Brain damage is an injury that causes the destruction or deterioration of brain cells. In the United States, about 2.6 million people suffer some type of brain injury every year, resulting from trauma, stroke, tumor or other illnesses, according to the Brain Injury Association of America.

Brain injuries come in different forms and severity. Moderate to severe closed-head injuries often result from accidents that force the soft tissue of the brain into contact with the hard, bony skull. Long-term effects and poor prognosis turn these injuries into major, often life-long, problems.

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What Is Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is a sudden injury that causes damage to the brain. It may happen when there is a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. This is a closed head injury. A TBI can also happen when an object penetrates the skull. This is a penetrating injury.

Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. Concussions are a type of mild TBI. The effects of a concussion can sometimes be serious, but most people completely recover in time. More severe TBI can lead to serious physical and psychological symptoms, coma, and even death.

What Are The Long

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It’s common to have lingering effects from brain swelling. The problems you notice depend on the severity as well as the location of the injury. Symptoms may be noticed with any of the following:

  • Sleeping
  • Communication skills
  • Movement

Your health care team is available to help you deal with these challenges. While some problems may continue to diminish over time, others may require ongoing treatment.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Brain Hemorrhage

The following are the signs and symptoms of a brain hemorrhage: 1 Severe headache that appears out of nowhere 2 arrests and detentions 3 Aches and pains in the arm or leg 4 Nausea or vomiting are common.5 There is a lack of energy.6 Changes in eyesight 7 Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet Disturbing speech or hearing difficulties 9 Difficulty swallowing 10 Difficulty learning 11 Loss of equilibrium Unconsciousness

Symptoms Of Nerve Damage

Nerve damage symptoms are quite diverse and they usually appear rather slowly. Because the signs of nerve damage are gradual, there is a good chance they can at least be recognized and partially treated.

At times, they will signify a greater health issue, while sometimes the symptoms may be temporary and disappear. Regardless of what symptoms you experience, its recommended to get to a doctor for examination.

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What Is The Prognosis For People With Traumatic Brain Injuries

Recovery from a TBI is highly individualized. It depends on the severity, cause and type of injury. People with mild TBIs are expected to improve and return to their pre-injury functioning within days to a few months. Some people with mild TBIs have few concerns and never seek treatment.

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause more significant difficulties with changes to their thinking and behavior. People with severe TBIs can have lifelong changes.

There are several different factors that can influence someones recovery.

Difficulty Controlling Emotions Or Mood Swings

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Some people may experience emotions very quickly and intensely but with very little lasting effect. For example, they may get angry easily but get over it quickly. Or they may seem to be on an emotional roller coaster in which they are happy one moment, sad the next and then angry. This is called emotional lability.

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Can A Small Brain Bleed Heal Itself

Diagnosis and therapy are essential. Many hemorrhages may not necessitate treatment and simply disappear on their own own. A medical practitioner may request a computed tomography scan or a magnetic resonance imaging scan to screen for brain hemorrhages in a patient who is displaying symptoms or who has recently suffered a brain injury.

What Are The Treatments For Traumatic Brain Injury

The treatments for TBI depend on many factors, including the size, severity, and location of the brain injury.

For mild TBI, the main treatment is rest. If you have a headache, you can try taking over-the-counter pain relievers. It is important to follow your health care provider’s instructions for complete rest and a gradual return to your normal activities. If you start doing too much too soon, it may take longer to recover. Contact your provider if your symptoms are not getting better or if you have new symptoms.

For moderate to severe TBI, the first thing health care providers will do is stabilize you to prevent further injury. They will manage your blood pressure, check the pressure inside your skull, and make sure that there is enough blood and oxygen getting to your brain.

Once you are stable, the treatments may include:

  • Surgery to reduce additional damage to your brain, for example to
  • Remove hematomas
  • Get rid of damaged or dead brain tissue
  • Repair skull fractures
  • Relieve pressure in the skull
  • Medicines to treat the symptoms of TBI and to lower some of the risks associated with it, such as
  • Anti-anxiety medication to lessen feelings of nervousness and fear
  • Antidepressants to treat symptoms of depression and mood instability
  • Muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms
  • Stimulants to increase alertness and attention
  • Rehabilitation therapies, which can include therapies for physical, emotional, and cognitive difficulties:
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    Sign #: Muscle Weakness

    Loss of muscle strength and function can occur as either an early or later symptom in neuropathy. Eventually, some people will experience muscle shrinking as well.

    You may notice this muscle weakness at first by not being able to do what you could before, like opening jars. Another example is unexpectedly dropping something.

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    With brain damage, there is the actual destruction of brain cells. People with brain damage may have severe symptoms. They may have disorientation and not be able to tell you where they are or what the time is. They also may have an inability to process emotions.

    People with brain damage may have balance issues and sensitivity to pain and light. They may have difficulty with communication, including listening and expressing verbally. Brain damage patients may have frequent headaches and extreme mental and physical fatigue.

    In many cases, brain damage is caused by a severe accident, stroke, or another serious medical event.

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    What Is The Treatment For Brain Swelling

    Minor cases of brain swelling due to causes such as moderate altitude sickness or a slight concussion often resolve within a few days. In most cases, however, more treatment is needed quickly.

    The goal is to assure that the brain receives enough blood and oxygen to remain healthy while the swelling is relieved and any underlying causes are treated. This may require a combination of medical and surgical treatments. Prompt treatment usually results in quicker and more complete recovery. Without it, some damage may remain.

    Supportive care for brain edema may include any combination of the following:

    What Can Be Done About It

    • Fortunately, this situation often improves in the first few months after injury, and people often return to a more normal emotional balance and expression.
    • If you are having problems controlling your emotions, it is important to talk to a physician or psychologist to find out the cause and get help with treatment.
    • Counseling for the family can be reassuring and allow them to cope better on a daily basis.
    • Several medications may help improve or stabilize mood. You should consult a physician familiar with the emotional problems caused by brain injury.

    What family members and others can do:

    • Remain calm if an emotional outburst occurs, and avoid reacting emotionally yourself.
    • Take the person to a quiet area to help him or her calm down and regain control.
    • Acknowledge feelings and give the person a chance to talk about feelings.
    • Provide feedback gently and supportively after the person gains control.
    • Gently redirect attention to a different topic or activity.

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    What Causes Brain Swelling

    Injury, other health problems, infections, tumors, and even high altitudes — any of these problems can cause brain swelling to occur. The following list explains different ways the brain can swell:

  • Tumors: Growths in the brain can cause swelling in several ways. As a tumor develops, it can press against other areas of the brain. Tumors in some parts of the brain may block cerebrospinal fluid from flowing out of the brain. New blood vessels growing in and near the tumor can leak and also lead to swelling.
  • High altitudes: Although researchers don’t know the exact causes, brain swelling is more likely to occur at altitudes above 4,900 feet. This type of brain edema is usually associated with severe acute mountain sickness or high-altitude cerebral edema .
  • What Are The Types Of Traumatic Brain Injuries

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    The severity of the head injury is determined by several different factors, such as loss of consciousness, certain neurological symptoms that happened at the time of the injury, loss of memory for the injury and time surrounding it, and abnormalities on head CT or brain MRI.

    There are several different types and grades of TBI:

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    What Can Be Done About Depression

    • Anti-depressant medications, psychotherapy from a mental health professional who is familiar with TBI, or a combination of the two, can help most people who have depression.
    • Aerobic exercise and structured activities during each day can sometimes help reduce depression.
    • Depression is not a sign of weakness, and it is not anyones fault. Depression is an illness. A person cannot get over depression by simply wishing it away, using more willpower or toughening up.
    • It is best to get treatment early to prevent needless suffering. Dont wait.

    What Are The Leading Causes Of Tbi

    Falls. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , falls are the most common cause of TBIs and occur most frequently among the youngest and oldest age groups. From 2006 to 2010 alone, falls caused more than half of TBIs among children aged 14 and younger. Among Americans age 65 and older, falls accounted for more than two-thirds of all reported TBIs.

    Blunt trauma accidents. Accidents that involve being struck by or against an object, particularly sports-related injuries, are a major cause of TBI. Anywhere from 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related TBIs are estimated to occur in the United States annually.Vehicle-related injuries. Pedestrian-involved accidents, as well as accidents involving motor vehicles and bicycles, are the third most common cause of TBI. In young adults aged 15 to 24 years, motor vehicle accidents are the most likely cause of TBI.

    Assaults/violence. Assaults include abuse related TBIs, such as head injuries that result from domestic violence or shaken baby syndrome, and gunshot wounds to the head. TBI-related deaths in children age 4 and younger are most likely the result of assault.

    Additional information about TBI and its causes can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention TBI website: .

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    Common Effects Of Pain

    After a TBI, it is common to have fatigue, anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. Pain can make these problems worse, and these problems can also make pain feel worse. This reinforcing cycle can make it hard to tell if pain is the cause or an effect. No matter the source, it is important to address these symptoms along with pain to get the best results.

    Can A Traumatic Brain Injury Be Prevented Or Avoided

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    There are some things you can do to lower the risk for a TBI. You should:

    • Always wear a seatbelt in the car.
    • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    • Wear a helmet in sports and activities, like biking, skating, horse riding, skiing, and snowboarding.
    • Avoid dangerous sports and activities.
    • Use child car seats correctly. Always buckle your young child into a car seat before you drive.
    • Make living areas safe for children. Install window guards to keep children from falling out of windows. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
    • Make sure the surface of playgrounds where your kids play is made of shock-absorbing material, such as mulch or sand.
    • Make living areas safe for seniors. Remove tripping hazards, use nonslip mats in showers and bathtubs, and install handrails and grab bars on stairs or in the bathroom.

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