How To Identify A Brain Injury
With very severe traumatic brain injury, the injuries are often obvious and easy to identify. However, many moderate brain injuries go under the radar and can quickly become very serious. Brain injuries can go undiagnosed for a variety of reasons. In some instances, with the presence of other life-threatening injuries, a closed head injury can easily be overlooked. In other cases, a medical expert may not be present and it can be difficult for a layperson to identify the signs of a brain injury. Mild traumatic brain injuries often go undiagnosed until the individual begins to show difficulty completing easy tasks or interacting in casual social situations.
Injuries to different areas of the brain cause different sorts of symptoms. Cerebellum injuries cause loss of coordination and balance. Frontal lobe damage causes loss of higher cognitive functions, often leading to inappropriate social behavior. Brainstem injuries can create problems with basic motor control, mobility, and central functions. This could result in difficulty standing, walking, getting in and out of a bed or chair, lifting, throwing, catching, feeding oneself, writing, and performing other normal daily activities.
Always seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know suffers a blow to the head that seems significant or starts to cause behavioral changes. A CAT scan, MRI, PET scan, or doctor visit are the most reliable ways to identify a brain injury. The medical terms “mild,” “moderate” and “severe” describe the effect the brain injury has on brain function. Though a mild injury may sound harmless, it is still a serious injury that requires immediate attention and a proper diagnosis. An evaluation by a physical, occupational, or speech therapist can specify the particular amount of damage suffered by the individual.
General symptoms of brain injuries vary but commonly include:
- Not thinking clearly, or having trouble remembering new information
- Having headaches, vision issues, or being dizzy
- Feeling sad, nervous, or unusually irritable
- Sleeping more or less than usual
A serious concussion can sometimes be identified by giving the person four words to remember and testing their ability to recall the words a few minutes later. Obviously, nothing can be substituted for the care of an experienced medical professional.