What are the Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Published on: 11/17/23 — In 

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can cause severe and lasting damage. The effects of brain injury vary depending on factors like severity, age, health, and resilience. Long-term effects of severe brain injury may include physical impairments, cognitive deficits, behavioral changes, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and psychological disturbances.

If you or someone you know has experienced a severe brain injury, contact Ktenas Injury Attorneys at (312) 300-2515 and schedule a free consult with our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers!

Types of TBI

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a severe injury with long-term effects. TBI happens when the brain cells and neural pathways are damaged by a blow or jolt. According to the CDC, around 1.7 million people get a TBI each year in the United States.

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The severity of a severe head injury varies from mild, with temporary confusion, and disorientation, or moderate, with longer-term memory, concentration, speech, and coordination problems, or severe, with permanent physical and mental disability.

Mild Concussion

Mild concussion is a common result of contact sports and physical activities. In the short term, it can cause in daily life disorientation, confusion, headache, nausea, ringing in the ears, and difficulty concentrating.

Long-term effects can include chronic headaches, memory issues, emotional disturbances, difficulty with concentration and multitasking, fatigue, sleep disorders, dizziness, and depression. Medical care is important to prevent these long-term effects.

Severe TBI or Head Injury

Severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or head injuries can cause serious and long-lasting effects. These effects can include physical, cognitive, and emotional impairments that can last for years or even a lifetime.

  • The physical effects of a severe TBI can include weakness, coordination difficulties, fatigue, vision changes, speech and language impairments, and balance problems.
  • Cognitive function effects may include short-term memory loss, difficulties with concentration and multitasking, and slower processing speed.
  • Emotional disturbances may include depression, anxiety, irritability, and aggression.

Initial Injury

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a serious condition that can have long-term impacts on an individual’s physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning.

The initial injury can range in severity from mild to severe and may be caused by a traumatic blow to the head or an object penetrating the skull and entering brain tissue.

a stethoscope next to the words "Traumatic Brain Injury"

In severe cases, the effects of the initial injury can be permanent; however, even those who have suffered a mild TBI can experience long-term symptoms.

Risk Factors for Long-Term Consequences

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury caused by a sudden force or impact to the head that can result in cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral changes.

While most people recover from their TBIs, some experience long-term consequences due to their injury. The risk factors for these long-term consequences vary depending on the severity of the TBI.

Damage to Brain Cells and Blood Vessels

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious condition that can have lasting effects on the brain and body. The most common type of TBI is a concussion, caused by a violent shaking or impact on the head. This damages brain cells and blood vessels, leading to physical, cognitive, and emotional problems.

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Head injury sufferers are at risk for long-term complications like physical impairments, speech difficulties, cognitive deficits, behavioral changes, depression, and anxiety disorders. In severe cases, permanent brain damage can occur from frontal lobes or pituitary glands swelling or pressure in the skull.

Skull Fractures and Internal Bleeding

Skull fractures and internal bleeding from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have lasting effects on a person. A skull fracture is a break in the bone surrounding the brain. It can range from a small crack to a complete fracture of multiple bones. Internal bleeding happens when blood vessels in the skull are damaged, causing blood to pool inside the skull or leak outside of it.

These complications can lead to long-term problems like physical and cognitive impairments, memory loss, language difficulties, and trouble concentrating on daily activities. In severe cases, a TBI can result in paralysis or death. People with a TBI are also at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Physical Symptoms of a TBI

Common symptoms of traumatic injury cases can include headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue, and sensitivity. In severe cases, there can be paralysis, psychiatric disorders, speech changes, seizures, coma, or death.

Double Vision and Balance Problems

Traumatic brain injury can lead to long-term effects such as double vision and balance problems. Double vision occurs when the eyes are misaligned, causing two images of one object to be seen. This can happen due to nerve damage or damage to the brain area controlling eye muscles.

a doctor looking at scans of a person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury

Balance problems arise from issues with the inner ear or vestibular system, which maintains balance and equilibrium.

Post-Concussion Syndrome and Traumatic Encephalopathy

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and Traumatic Encephalopathy are two long-term effects that can occur after experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI). PCS is a condition characterized by physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that can last for extended periods following the initial injury.

Sensory Issues, Memory Loss, and Cognitive Impairment

Sensory issues can occur after a traumatic brain injury. These issues can affect vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

  • Vision may be affected in low light or with rapid eye movement.
  • Hearing may be impaired by certain tones or loud noises. There may also be hypersensitivity to sound.
  • Touch can be affected, making it difficult to feel pressure or texture.
  • Smell and taste can be affected, causing difficulty in distinguishing scents and flavors.
  • Memory loss is common after a TBI. It can result in difficulty remembering recent events, recalling memories, and forming new memories. The severity of memory loss can vary.
  • Another common long-term effect of TBI is cognitive impairment. This can include difficulty concentrating, problem-solving, multitasking, and planning. Processing information quickly and accurately and making decisions may also be challenging.

Treatment Options for Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Daily living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a lifelong challenge. TBI can cause physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral difficulties. Ongoing treatment can help manage these long-term effects. Physical issues may include problems with coordination, balance, muscle control, vision, hearing, and pain. Occupational therapy can provide strategies for improvement.

images after a scan of someone's brain who suffered a TBI

Cognitive and emotional issues may require counseling or psychotherapy. Cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) can improve memory, concentration, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills.

Medication like antidepressants, antiepileptics, and antipsychotics may also help manage TBI effects.

Medication Management and Rehabilitation Programs

Treatment for traumatic brain injury includes medication management and rehabilitation programs. Medication helps with symptoms like seizures, headaches, fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairments. Rehabilitation programs teach new skills for everyday activities. The long-term effects of brain injuries vary in severity.

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Seeking immediate medical professional attention and treatment is crucial for the best outcomes. Ongoing treatment, like medication management, rehabilitation, and counseling, helps manage long-term effects.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Brain Injury Attorney Now!

If you or someone you know has a brain injury from someone else's negligence, you need to call Ktenas Injury Attorneys. TBIs can have lasting effects that are expensive and disabling, so it's important to get legal help to make sure you're compensated fairly for medical bills, care providers, lost wages, and loss of normal living. Our team of brain injury lawyers has the expertise to help you get the compensation you deserve call Ktenas Injury Attorney today for a free consultation.