Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when brain function is disrupted by a sudden head injury or trauma. For today's veterans, the most common cause can be linked to IEDs encountered during the Iraq and Afghan wars. TBI can also happen in the aftermath of falls, vehicle accidents, and other detonated explosive devices.
Any blow to the head or object that penetrates the brain can cause an individual to suffer from TBI. Such brain injuries can cause a change in consciousness and leave a person feeling disoriented or even cause them to slip into a coma. They may also experience memory loss of the time surrounding the injury.
Symptoms of TBI can either appear immediately or take weeks or months after the accident to manifest. The severity of the injury dictates the severity of TBI:
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
MTBI is basically another name for a concussion. Brain damage isn't always seen on a CT scan or MRI, but symptoms will still be visible. These include headaches, dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, fatigue, sleep pattern changes, memory issues, and behavioral changes. MTBI can lead to a long-term condition called post-concussion syndrome, in which an individual demonstrates changes in personality and understanding.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Severe TBI includes all symptoms of MTBI. Sufferers may also experience headaches that worsen and/or will not go away, convulsions or seizures, vomiting or nausea, pupil dilation, loss of coordination, inability to wake up from sleep, slurred speech, confusion, restlessness, agitation, and weakness in the arms and legs.
TBI can create countless difficulties for veterans who suffer from it. In addition to the physical trauma, they also suffer changes in their emotional well-being. TBI often includes secondary symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Thankfully, there are treatments available. Depending on the case, a veteran may be treated with medications, rehabilitation therapy, or assistive devices and technologies (think artificial limbs).
For more information on TBI, or if you need help obtaining maximum benefits for your VA disability claim, please contact us at The Veterans Law Group.