Road accidents are inevitable, but oftentimes accidents cause irreversible damages to a victim. Broken bones and fractures are some of the most common results of car crashes, but even more severe and terrifying are brain injuries.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, the leading cause of brain injury falls, closely followed closely by car crashes. This makes the situation of accidents on the road ever direr, as a large portion of the population now deal with brain injuries they need to nurse throughout their life. More often than not, these injuries go beyond the physical—they transcend to personality changes, which can be even more difficult to recover from.
If you have gone through such trauma, the most pressing questions you may have will be answered today. To learn more about the implications and effects of brain injury, especially when it comes to the brain’s tissue response and the actions you need to do. A car accident attorney may need to be contacted, but for now, here is a comprehensive guide to traumatic brain injuries.
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Traumatic Brain Injury Explained
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) pertains to the damage caused to the brain, usually by an external physical force. As previously mentioned, the most common causes of TBI include car accidents, falls, and in some cases, gunshot wounds. It is never caused by internal damages, such as tumors or strokes, much less brain damage due to lack of oxygen supply.
A person can suffer from a TBI without losing consciousness, commonly seen with people in road accidents. Damage to brain tissue ensues if you’re suffering from at least one of the following facts:
- Loss of consciousness
- Failure to recall the actual traumatic event
- Presence of a post-traumatic seizure, skull fractures, and abnormal brain scans
Why do you experience personality changes due to TBI?
Personality changes happen due to a variety of factors, but damage to the skull has always been the culprit. Your brain is composed of extremely delicate soft tissue, which floats in a certain fluid only known to the human skull and spine. It weighs about 3 to 4 pounds, which holds your entire existence. The soft tissue contains all your memories and skills, and essentially everything that makes you a functioning human.
Under the skull, three layers cover and protect the brain. Dubbed as membranes, these add an extra layer of protection to keep your brain tissue untouched. Bear in mind that although may seem completely protected, your brain is soft and easily compressed. Any sudden movement may cause it to move around the skull violently. When this happens, injury can occur.
Although falling is the most common cause of TBI, car crashes offer the most damage. Here are the types of injury you can garner from a car crash:
1 – Closed and open head injury
Closed injuries are essentially wounds that have not penetrated the insides, meaning that the skull and brain contents remain intact. Open head injury, on the other hand, pertains to extensive damage that has exposed the skull and other layers to air. Open head injuries are often gunshot wounds to the end, whereas closed head injuries are those obtained during car crashes (unless other fatal wounds to the head are present).
Although the brain remains enclosed in the skull, closed head injuries can still be fatal. The brain moves back and forth inside the skull, even side to side. This means that it violently collides with the bony skull, causing bruising around the brain tissue, tearing to the blood vessels, and even damaging dents to the axons (nerve cells).
2 – Skull fracture
As the name suggests, skull fracture happens due to denting or breaking of the skull. This is also fatal, as pieces of bone will end up pressing on the brain. This could lead to bruising and bleeding, affecting various layers of the brain. Certain damages will cause you to lose consciousness, where the cells of the brain and fibers are stretched beyond the means.
These fibers are called neurons, which are responsible for signaling our bodies to move, think, and feel. If there is too much stretch, the neuron dies, effectively altering the victim’s brain functions. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to detect, even with advanced brain scans equipment.
How does your brain tissues respond to such injuries?
Even with minor head injuries, brain functions can easily be impaired. Such minor injuries are called concussions, but the effects can be severe. A patient can suffer from pressing headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and of course, personality changes such as memory problems, irritability, and even depression.
Most people will be symptom-free following a TBI, but others only experience the onslaught of problems months and years after a head injury. While physical injury is common with TBI, understand that brain injury can also be an extremely emotionally traumatic experience.
Brain injury survivors often find themselves dealing with impaired social connections, as unexpected behavioral changes can easily occur. Some end up mourning the life they once had, trying hard to deal with other frustrating symptoms like irritability and memory loss.
Following the trauma, your brain may have suffered from a dysregulated neurovascular coupling, causing it to be either hypoactive or hyperactive. Hypoactivity impedes your brain from doing the normal functions, causing you to do little when it comes to activities. Hyperactivity, on the other hand, caused you to do too much, working beyond that intended purpose.
Both conditions make you extremely vulnerable to overstimulation. You may end up being triggered by light and noise, but even work, reading, and simple conversations. As such emotional symptoms ensue.
To further understand the possible personality changes you can suffer from after a TBI, here is a quick rundown of each:
1 – The onset of anger and irritability
Although anger and irritability are natural occurrences in our daily structures, TBI survivors deal with them extensively. Impatience can easily result in frustration and then anger, which can happen even in the simplest of things. Being unable to properly tie a shoelace, for instance, may cause you to violently scream at family and friends.
This is what head trauma can do to a person – any instance that could have otherwise been normal will be received differently, often resulting in dramatic reactions. This leads us back to hyperactivity, which is the reason people dealing with TBI react that way. Unable to fix the shoelace has overstimulated them, especially considering that the body and brain are trying to handle recovery and sudden changes.
What can you do?
Understand that the hyperactivity is behind the anger and irritability. If you are feeling angry and ready for an outburst, remember to remain patient with yourself. Look for ways to stop you from being overstimulated, such as removing yourself from the situation for a while and even avoiding family members. Handling your anger may be difficult, but it’s important to learn how to manage your emotions.
2 – The appearance of anxiety
Anxiety is also a common emotional effect of TBI, characterized by constant worrying, which can oftentimes border illogical. You begin worrying in ways you never did before, or your worries magnified in uncontrollable ways. You constantly feel on edge, which ends up affecting your sleep quality and overall daily functioning.
What can you do?
While anxiety can be difficult to deal with, there are ways to keep yourself from feeling constant worry. Learning to meditate is a good way to control anxiety, as with exercise and other mind-stimulating activities like journaling. If symptoms persist, however, counseling can be of help, as with possible medications necessary to help you sleep.
3 – The worsening of depression
Depression, although difficult to deal with on its own, is a condition that worsens after TBI. It includes a feeling of hopelessness and lingering feelings of death, which often leads to fatal consequences. People who have experienced brain injuries are more likely to engage in self-harm and attempted suicide. This is because depressive symptoms worsen, ultimately leading to poorer mental states. Unfortunately, suicide is common among individuals suffering from TBI.
What can you do?
If you are suffering from depression due to TBI, seeking professional help is necessary. Any suicidal thoughts need to be intercepted immediately – so if you need help, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
4 – Dealing with mood swings
Suffering from a mild traumatic brain injury can be quite difficult to deal with emotionally, and it’s perfectly healthy to cry after feeling grief or loss. It’s normal human behavior and helps you cope during times of turmoil.
However, some post-concussion patients report uncontrollable crying for no reason at all or perhaps crying about something trivial like watching a mildly emotional television scene. You may find yourself in the same position, confusedly crying uncontrollably during odd moments. This is a condition linked to TBI called emotional lability.
What can you do?
After suffering from a concussion, your brain is prone to overstimulation. The brain experiences some oddities or sudden changes and attempts to cope with this through behaviors such as crying. It would be best to accept and humor these tears instead of being frustrated about it, especially since it’s out of anyone’s control. Stressing out and being frustrated about the emotional lability will do no good and can only add further harmful stress.
5 – A sudden problem with impulse control
The brain holds many facets of your thinking, feeling, and behaviors. It’s not surprising that injury to the brain can cause some of these aspects to change or go awry. Cognitive processes such as remembering, paying attention, or even tracking conversations can be affected by traumatic brain injuries.
Another facet that the brain controls is your ability to hold your urges and impulses. Brain injuries can affect your impulse control and attention as well, with attention deficit disorder (ADD) being common in post-concussion patients.
Physicians need to take a deeper look into what causes problems with impulse control in patients who suffered from a TBI, and they may run tests to point it out. Through brain imaging, for instance, they may detect certain irregularities in the parts of the brain that are responsible for impulse and emotional regulation. Post-injury sleep deprivation may also play a role in such behavioral changes.
What can you do?
It can be tricky to identify the cause of behavioral changes such as the lack of impulse control, and you will need the help of a physician to diagnose it and identify its root cause.
6 – A loss of interest in social functions
People suffering from TBI often lose interest in socializing. Most people believe that this is the cause of a personality switch. An extroverted persona has suddenly become introverted, but the case is more complex than that. Due to the traumatic nature of the injury, what once was fun has ceased to be enjoyable inside your brain.
Your brain may have unconsciously begun believing that socializing only leads to fatigue, leaving you too tired to go out. An individual may also find simple conversations to be draining, especially since most TBI survivors also function from lack of social skills. In other words, finding the right words to communicate has now become frustrating and difficult, or too many people cause you to become overstimulated.
What can you do?
The best way to deal with the sudden loss of interest at social functions is to simply allow it to unfold. None of these symptoms are permanent, and may just be the result of your brain and body trying to recover from the trauma. It’s best to wait it out, but if you suspect that your loss of interest is a result of another emotional trauma, it’s best to talk to a professional.
Enlisting the Help of a Car Accident Lawyer
From everything discussed, the idea of suffering from a brain injury is downright horrible, if not utterly inhumane. The physical damage caused, especially considering the many types of injuries following a car accident can be difficult to deduce in theory—the mere thought of going through such trauma is an experience like no other, a wound that you carry around for the rest of your life.
Unfortunately, these wounds fester, becoming emotional trauma that can be even more difficult to deal with. Anger, irritability, anxiety, and depression, are just some of the most detrimental consequences of a TBI, ones that could lead to serious loss and further trauma.
As such, seeking justice should be your priority. If you are a victim of a car accident and are currently suffering from traumatic brain injury, the car accident lawyers of Shiner Law Group in Florida can help. We understand the implications of traumatic incidents, particular emotional wounds these circumstances leave you. With that, we offer you a team of talented lawyers, dedicated to helping you get total recovery, including one that involves the law. Book a consultation with us today.