Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate or severe. Even so-called “mild closed head injuries” can cause deficits in thinking skills, emotional and behavioral functions, as well as physical abilities.
- Cognitive problems associated with brain injuries include impaired memory, concentration, attention, slowed learning, and difficulty with planning, reasoning or judgment (executive functioning). People with brain injuries may not be able to remember the names of friends, family members, remember how to drive to familiar places, or even basic information they have known all of their lives.
- Emotional and behavioral problems include depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, irritability, aggression, mood swings, emotional lability (uncontrolled crying spells), and thoughts of suicide. The person with the brain injury may not immediately notice these changes. Often, family members and coworkers are the first to recognize the problems. Many times, relationship problems develop after a head injury because of changes in the injured person that may not be immediately recognized as the symptom of a brain injury.
- Physical problems include fatigue, headaches, nausea, problems with balance or motor skills, loss of coordination, sensory losses, sensitivity to light or sound, sleep disturbance, coma, hemorrhage, and stroke.
Closed Head/Mild Brain Injuries
The frustration caused by mild brain injuries, a mild traumatic brain injury, or MTBI can lead to major disruptions in emotional, physical, and intellectual functioning. Yet, all too often, the symptoms of MTBI’s are overlooked or ignored.
Headaches, memory problems, and muddled thinking are common after a concussion or other closed head injury. These symptoms usually clear up within a few weeks or months. Sometimes, however, they never go away. Neuropsychological evaluation may be employed to determine the extent and severity of a TBI.