Catastrophic injuries, often resulting from serious trauma, are so severe that they normally lead to long-term medical conditions, permanent disability, and possibly, shortened life expectancy. These kinds of injuries may lead to the need for multiple surgeries, long-term hospitalization, rehabilitation, or other forms of long-term treatment. There are many different examples of catastrophic injuries, including burn injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, organ damage, broken bones, and amputations. This article will discuss traumatic brain injuries. If you, or a loved one, has been a victim of brain trauma, understanding the effects of traumatic brain injuries may make it easier to handle.
Brain injuries in general
The effects a brain injury can have on a victim are very wide ranging, and will depend on several factors. Also, each victim’s injury is unique, leading to varied symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Because the different mental abilities of an individual are located in different parts of the brain, where the injury occurs will determine, in part, the effects that will result. The effects of traumatic brain injuries are commonly categorized as follows:
- Cognitive effects of brain injury
- Coma and reduced awareness states
- Communication problems after brain injury
- Emotional and behavioral effects of brain injury
- Physical effects of brain injury
- Post-traumatic amnesia
Cognitive effects of brain injury
Cognitive damage to the brain affect how a person thinks, learns and remembers. Head injuries can damage mental skills such as speed of thinking, memory, understanding, concentration, problem solving and language. For example, communication issues are very common. The ability to communicate involves extremely complicated skills, involving different parts of the brain. If any of these parts is damaged, the ability to communicate effectively, can be affected. Cognitive effects also include what is referred to as “post-traumatic amnesia.” Often, there is a time period when the injured person is behaving or talking bizarrely or in an uncharacteristic way.
Coma and other states of reduced awareness
The most common, and immediate, effect of brain injury is the loss of consciousness. It may last only a few seconds or it may last for days or weeks. The level of consciousness can range from a coma to a vegetative state. A coma is a “continued unconscious state that can occur as part of the natural recovery for a person who has experienced a severe brain injury.” However, when someone is in a vegetative state, “arousal is present, but the ability to interact with the environment is not.”
Emotional and behavioral effects of brain injury
Nearly everyone who has suffered a head injury is left with emotional and/or behavioral changes. Depending on the part of the victim’s brain that is damaged, the nature and extent of the behavioral and emotional changes can differ. There may be problems with personality and impulsivity. Some people suffer with what is often referred to as a “flat effect,” where their personality seems to be muted or they appear emotionless.
If you have questions regarding brain injuries, or any other catastrophic injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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