Long-term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

The long-term outcome of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is difficult (and sometimes impossible) to predict. While new breakthroughs are made every day, still, very little is actually known about the brain. Some patients make a rapid and full recovery, even from severe injuries, while others may experience permanent impairment from a minor concussion.

Symptoms can take months or even years to surface, and many people with TBI experience improvements followed by setbacks, making recovery a slow and frustrating process.

Overwhelming personality and behavioral changes can make TBI frightening and confusing for victims and their friends and family. More than anything, TBI victims need the understanding and support of loved ones.

Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS)

PCS is a combination of disorders from which TBI victims often suffer. Although recognized for over 100 years, PCS is still a controversial subject within the medical community, making support, treatment, and therapy difficult for many victims to obtain. Symptoms of PCS include:

· Headaches

· Dizziness

· Nausea

· Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

· Sensitivity to noise

· Sensitivity to light

· Vision problems

· Sleep disorders

· Fatigue

· Irritability

· Personality changes

· Apathy

· Depression

· Confusion

· Difficulty concentrating

· Impaired attention

· Memory problems

· Slowed mental processing

· Difficulty with abstract thinking

Alzheimer’s Disease

AD is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by dementia, memory loss, and deteriorating cognitive abilities. Recent research indicates an association between head injury in early adulthood and the development of Alzheimer’s later in life. The more severe the head injury, the greater the are the chances of developing AD later in life.

Parkinson’s Disease (and other motor problems)

Movement disorders as a result of TBI are rare but do occur. Parkinson’s may develop years after TBI as a result of damage to the basal ganglia. Symptoms of PD include tremor or trembling, rigidity or stiffness, slow movement, inability to move, shuffling walk and stooped posture.