Many people in Washington are affected by brain injuries that resulted from traumatic accidents, illnesses, or medical malpractice. Brain injuries can be mild or severe, and they can cause a wide variety of physical, cognitive, perceptual, and emotional symptoms.
Traumatic brain injuries
A person may suffer from a traumatic brain injury after a head injury. Although the terms brain injury and head injury are often used interchangeably, not all head injuries result in brain injuries. When there is a blow to the head, the brain may move around in the skull and strike the inside of it, which causes a brain injury. Common causes of traumatic brain injuries include:
• Car accidents
• Sports injuries
• Physical violence
• Falling objects
Acquired brain injuries
Acquired brain injuries are brain injuries that can happen for other reasons besides blows to the head. They occur at the cellular level because of things like illnesses, strokes, heart attacks, poisonings, and drug use. Acquired brain injuries are also common after events that cause a lack of oxygen like drowning, strangulation, and choking.
Symptoms of brain injuries
If a brain injury is mild, symptoms such as headache, visual impairment, and mental fog may be temporary. However, severe brain injuries can have lasting symptoms that lead to long-term emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes. People with severe brain injuries may have speech problems, paralysis, and increased irritability.
On the positive side, neither traumatic nor acquired brain injuries are degenerative. That means that brain injury symptoms won’t get worse and worse over time like brain disease. Most people can recover from a brain injury or at least see their symptoms improve over time.