A serious car accident can result in a wide variety of serious injuries. One common injury that occurs is a traumatic brain injury.
There are three types of brain injuries: mild, moderate and severe. While mild TBI has symptoms that typically go away within days or weeks, the effects of more severe brain injuries often last a lifetime.
Symptoms of a severe traumatic brain injury
According to the Mayo Clinic, a TBI occurs when there is a severe blow to the head, such as when a head hits the windshield or steering wheel. This force causes the brain to hit the skull, which causes damage to the tissues, neurons and blood vessels. This can result in a number of physical and mental symptoms:
- Loss of coordination
- Numbness or weakness in extremities
- Persistent headache
- Intense confusion
- Unusual behavior such as aggression or agitation
Treatment of TBI
The treatment for severe TBI occurs in stages. The immediate priority is to stabilize the patient and prevent further complications. Initial treatment often occurs on an emergency basis and may include surgery and prescription drugs to limit secondary brain damage.
Once the patient stabilizes, the patient undergoes rehabilitation. This occurs first in the hospital, and the focus is often on getting the patient to relearn how to walk, talk and perform other basic skills.
The University of Utah Healthcare Department discusses additional outpatient therapy that the patient may continue once released from the hospital. This may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work and rehab psychology.
Depending on the location and severity of the brain injury, rehab may continue for a few years or permanently. Depending on what part of the brain received the injury, long-term effects may include problem-solving, judgment, processing visual information, speech difficulties and behavioral changes. Other effects may include paralysis, memory loss, mood swings, dizziness and balance problems.