Texas & New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyers

Understanding The Long-Term Impact of TBI

Sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be life-altering. We hear stories on the news about how people may have been affected by a TBI, but rarely do we gain a proper understanding of it if we are lucky enough not to have personal experience with it. The reality behind life with a TBI can be devastating.

Many things can change in an instant with a traumatic brain injury. You can lose your job and relationships with friends and family, or you may become your spouse's primary caretaker instead of a partner. Suppose you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury because of the negligent decisions or behavior of someone else. In that case, you may benefit from calling and speaking with a personal injury attorney from Farah Law.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is a term that can refer to a wide range of damage to the brain. A severe concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury. However, moderate to severe brain injuries often lead to a multitude of long-term issues. These are not the kinds of injuries that will heal with rest for a few weeks or months, but those that may never recover fully.

A TBI is caused by an external force exerted on the body that disrupts the brain's functioning. Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) considers a TBI to fall under the greater umbrella of an acquired brain injury on its website. This type of injury can result from a fall, a motor vehicle accident, or being hit by something like falling debris. Many common symptoms of a TBI may include:

  • Increased irritability
  • Language problems
  • Increased impulsivity
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble with planning
  • Loss of coordination
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Trouble with movement

The specific symptoms experienced can vary greatly depending on the area of the brain that sustains damage. Injury to the front of the brain may have more of an effect on planning or emotional regulation, while injury on the top or sides of the brain may affect movement or language.

As one would expect, many of these symptoms can affect all parts of someone’s life. Emotional disturbances or mood swings may affect professional dynamics. The CDC reports that over half of those with a moderate to severe TBI report being unemployed even though they were employed at the time of the accident. Further, this can affect personal relationships as well. If you are experiencing issues with regulation, movement, or even being unable to speak, it makes it challenging to maintain friendships the way you may have previously done. If you were in a romantic relationship or partnership, it might be challenging for the spouse to adjust to the transition of partner to caretaker, essentially, overnight.

TBI Prognosis and Life Expectancy

A minor TBI, like a concussion, will typically resolve with minimal intervention. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that moderate to severe traumatic brain injury is a lifelong condition. When looking at five-year outcomes of people with a TBI, the CDC reports:

  • 22% of people died
  • 30% saw an increase in symptoms
  • 22% stayed the same
  • 26% improved

People who have experienced a TBI become more vulnerable to many other circumstances that may lead to death. These conditions include seizures, drug overdoses, and infections, including pneumonia. Longitudinal studies by the CDC have shown that people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury see a decrease in life expectancy by about nine years. This decrease can be partially attributed to the increase in depression and self-medication behaviors to compensate for a lower quality of life that is frequently reported.

Treating a Traumatic Brain Injury

Treatment for a TBI can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the presenting symptoms. The National Library of Medicine explains some of the many methods of treating TBI symptoms. For a milder TBI, like a concussion, you may just rest and take over-the-counter pain relievers. For more severe injuries, though, you may be receiving medications and therapies. Some of these may include:

  • Antidepressants to help manage depression and mood dysregulation.
  • Antianxiety medication to assist with any increased worry or fear from the accident that caused the injury.
  • Anticoagulants to prevent blood clots. This type of medication can be particularly important in patients with significantly decreased mobility.
  • Stimulants may increase alertness or attention.
  • Anticonvulsant medication to prevent seizure.
  • Occupational therapy may act to reteach daily tasks like hygiene skills, dressing, or cooking. This therapy focuses on motor skills.
  • Speech therapy can help to redevelop speech or teach alternative communication methods if speech is no longer possible.
  • Cognitive therapy can assist with developing cognitive skills like problem-solving, attention, memory, and judgment.

Though these lists are not exhaustive, they are some of the many supporting treatments available to someone for whom traumatic brain injury has decimated their life.

Moving forward with a TBI

Many who sustain a traumatic brain injury will be permanently altered in some way. These may be minor changes that can be managed with therapy and medication, or they may be so severe that you require ongoing support. Some may have a partner or family who can help with this care. Others may end up in a long-term care facility. Regardless of the specific outcome, a traumatic brain injury can be catastrophic.

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury is an arduous process. It takes extensive patience, time, money, and support. It is a particularly upsetting circumstance when a victim’s life is turned upside down because of someone else's negligence.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by the careless actions of another, seeking legal representation may be appropriate to get the support and financial security you need. At Farah Law, we have years of experience helping personal injury victims recover the financial compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Every traumatic brain injury is different. Discuss the details of your particular circumstances with an experienced personal injury lawyer.