Sustaining a traumatic brain injury can be a challenging experience. You probably felt angry, demoralized, helpless, and even hopeless in the days following your injury. For some people, these feelings eventually subside and disappear — but that didn't happen for you.
The type of head injury doctor you need to see depends on the type of injury you’ve experienced and how long ago the injury occurred. Doctors who excel at concussion treatment, for example, are often not the doctors you would see for a skull fracture.
Brain injury recovery is hard. The severity of your injury, which parts of your brain were affected, and how they were affected, all factor into things such as how much you can recover and how long it will take.
Post-concussion syndrome occurs when concussion symptoms persist for months or years after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or another type of brain trauma. If you or a loved one received a post-concussion syndrome (PCS) diagnosis, you're probably wondering if it's treatable. (Short answer: yes!) You may also want to know how long recovery takes, what you can do to alleviate symptoms, and whether what you're experiencing is "normal." We treat post-concussion patients every day and regularly answer these questions for our patients. This guide will help you understand post-concussion syndrome in depth by answering a number of questions, including:
Mild and severe traumatic brain injury (concussion and TBI) can cause upsetting changes to your mental health. You may find that preexisting mental illness worsens after your injury or that new symptoms — such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more — arise. Don’t give up hope: There are good treatment programs that can help you improve.
Here’s something you probably won’t hear in the emergency room: A transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke) can have symptoms that last for months or years afterward. Many healthcare providers think these symptoms are rare or at least short term, but a 2013 survey from the UK Stroke Association showed otherwise. Seventy percent of respondents reported long-term after effects such as cognitive difficulties or poor mobility. And sixty percent had emotional changes after the incident.
“It’s like there’s molasses in my brain.”
Between 80,000-90,000 of people who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year develop long-term disabilities related to their TBI. Many others suffer from a variety of long-term, problematic symptoms that continue to interfere with their lives. When they try to get help for these issues, they are often told there’s nothing more that can be done — or worse, that there’s nothing wrong with them at all. Here’s the good news: Recovery can and does continue for patients who find the right help.
If you’ve had a concussion (or two, or three … ), there’s a good chance someone told you to rest in a dark room and do nothing until your symptoms go away. But research over the past few years has revealed that resting in a dark room (known as “cocooning”) is not the best way to treat a concussion.
Personality changes (or what feels like them) are common following a traumatic brain injury. Even a concussion can affect the brain long after it’s healed from the initial injury. The way we process and understand information can change as a result of the injury, so it’s not surprising that our emotions are affected too.
Many people who have a concussion suffer from some kind of vision problem as a result of the concussion. However, except for “blurry vision” or “sensitivity to light,” the vision problems people often experience after head trauma are not usually listed among the most common concussion-related symptoms. These symptoms are often overlooked and left untreated, or they are not treated as effectively as possible.
If you’re searching for answers and think you might have post-concussion syndrome (PCS), the path to diagnosis can be challenging. Few medical professionals are experts on the condition, and many lack the most sophisticated diagnostic tools. Many doctors will make a diagnosis based on concussion symptom history and a quick physical examination. Others will supplement their findings with imaging or computerized testing.
Neuroplasticity, from a clinician’s view, is the ability of the brain to change and heal itself. From a scientific perspective, neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to affect the synaptic transmission of information in response to external stimuli.
A concussion is defined as “the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation, or memory loss), with or without a loss of consciousness.”
Concussions may be the hardest form of traumatic brain injury to treat due to the convoluted nature of long-term symptoms and how those symptoms can be misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed.
Neurology Vs. Neuropsychology: One of these is not like the other… Neurologists and Neuropsychologists often get mistaken as one and the same. Although there are some similarities, the differences are quite stark, and often allows for the necessity of both fields in many cases of neurologic injury.
I meet with patients every single day who have been dealing with concussion symptoms. Sometimes they have been experiencing them for a short amount of time, and others have been dealing with them for months and even years. When I meet with those that have dealt with symptoms longer, many times I hear things like “I am a different person," or “Life is different” or “I used to be different…” After a concussion, there are so many changes that can occur in almost every area of your world. For many people after a head injury or concussion, quality of life goes down, but I want you to know there is hope, and you are not alone in your experience.