Car accidents can cause a variety of traumatic injuries, which can number among the more serious types. The impact from a car crash can cause significant damage to the brain even in the absence of penetrating wounds or direct impact to the head.
Especially in cases of moderate TBI, diagnosis and treatment can mean a long and difficult process. Many people continue to feel the effects for a long time, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
Onset not always obvious
Moderate TBI often begins with a period of passing out lasting fewer than 30 minutes followed by some short-term memory loss. In the chaos and stress immediately following a crash, people who briefly pass out may not remember doing so. If you do not suffer visible head trauma, you may well go home from the emergency room thinking nothing is really wrong.
Catching the symptoms
The symptoms of moderate TBI tend to show up within hours, days or even weeks of the crash. Because they can seem identical to relatively minor ills, many at first overlook them. Common signs include headaches, sleepiness, mental fog, nausea and difficulty concentrating. Some people experience blurry vision or ringing in their ears.
Psychological symptoms may include irritability, increased impulsiveness and social inappropriateness; the nature of this types of damage frequently causes sufferers to continue unaware of the changes in their emotional health and behavior. If your loved ones tell you of such changes, take your symptoms seriously. Seeing a doctor promptly can set you on the road to effective diagnosis and treatment.
In the process of diagnosis, you may undergo imaging studies such as an MRI or a CAT scan. Imaging may not always pick up on all types of damage. Many specialists will also use neuropsychological testing to ascertain the type and extent of damage.
For many people with TBI, complete recovery remains out of reach. Rather, they may manage and improve symptoms with medication, therapy and physical rehabilitation.