Are brain injury victims unaware of their long-term symptoms?

If you are one of the 1.7 million Americans who suffered a traumatic brain injury last year, your path to recovery may not be a direct one. In fact, recent research suggests that there may be extended consequences, with symptoms persisting up to 18 months after the TBI. 

The study followed 31 TBI patients for an 18-month period, compared against a control group of 42 healthy individuals. Researches observed symptoms of sleep-wake disorders in around two-thirds of the TBI patients. Notably, the symptoms were present for both mild and severe cases of TBI. Researchers also found links between those sleep problems and other issues, including mood changes, depression, cognitive and memory difficulties, and other neuropsychiatric issues. 

Surprisingly, most of the TBI patients were unaware they were suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness. That presents an extra obstacle to their path of recovery, since one way that doctors diagnose conditions is through a patient's own disclosure of his or her symptoms. Since the TBI patients were unaware of their sleepiness, they were not seeking treatment for it or discussing that issue with their doctors. In addition, the sleep symptoms might also have been damaging the TBI patients’ professional careers and quality of life. Yet without awareness of the underlying cause, the individuals may have suffered any consequences in silence or attributed other factors to be the cause. 

Our law firm has represented individuals with brain injuries resulting from a variety of causes. Some examples include slip-and-fall incidents, car accidents, and work accidents. Our commitment in each case was to hold any negligent parties responsible and seek compensation for any resulting injuries. Since research now indicates that symptoms may be long-term, it is important to consult with an attorney to protect your rights.

Source: WebMD, “Sleep Doesn't Come Easy After a Brain Injury,” Steven Reinberg, April 27, 2016

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