October is official National Brain Injury Awareness Month and provides a good opportunity to take a moment to better understand brain injuries and how those with brain injuries are impacted. Each year an estimated 1.7 million Americans are impacted by a brain injuries. Of these, approximately 52,000 will die.
While extremely common, brain injuries and how they affect those they impact are not well understood. Part of the reason for this is that brain injuries can vary greatly in their severity and how they manifest. Individuals suffering mild brain injuries may suffer from few to no negative side effects, while those who suffer a traumatic brain injury may be paralyzed or experience frequent seizures.
To understand brain injuries and potential effective treatment options, it's important to understand both the types of brain injuries as well as common symptoms associated with brain injuries. A closed head injury and contusion are both categorized by direct impact to the head and brain. Commonly experienced by those injured in car accidents, closed head injuries and contusions may result in a variety of adverse symptoms.
After an accident, an individual may not even know they've suffered a brain injury. It's important, then for loved ones to monitor the injured individual's behavior over the course of several weeks to gauge any noticeable changes in mood, memory or balance.
Additionally, individuals who have suffered a brain injury may exhibit other symptoms including frequent and severe headaches, insomnia, seizures and even loss of consciousness.
If these symptoms are apparent, it's important that an individual immediately contact their attending physician. Early intervention and treatment is key to mitigating the damaging effects of a brain injury and helping an individual get their life back.
Source: VOXXI, "Brain injury symptoms and types: Why you should know more," Hope Gillette, Oct. 15, 2012