Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, TBIs contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Recent data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually. The leading causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, sports-related injuries, and combat wounds. A brain injury may also be acquired. Common causes of an acquired TBI are stroke, aneurysm, infection, anoxia, or tumor.
A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It can also be caused by a penetrating wound that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after following the injury). The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.
Common physical changes after brain injury may include headaches, seizure, coordination difficulties, and fatigue. Cognitive challenges may include amnesia, short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, slow ability to process information, poor judgment, and short attention span. Emotional changes may include anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, and disinhibition. Communication challenges may include slurred speech, difficulty reading and understanding written and spoken words, word finding, staying on topic, and poor listening habits.
Brain Injury Prevention: The Only Antidote
The effects of a brain injury are often disabling and last a lifetime. Unfortunately, unlike other injuries such as broken bones or minor cuts, a brain injury cannot heal. Prevention is the only antidote. Click here to learn more about brain injury prevention.