What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Categories: Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) range from minor to severe. The more severe a TBI injury is, the more likely a person is to suffer from permanent deficits, while minor TBIs could result in temporary effects until the brain heals.

The long-term effects in a TBI vary depending on the type of TBI, treatment received, and the individual. However, when the brain is permanently damaged, a person is likely to have long-term effects from that injury. Recovery and rehabilitation are options, and they can help restore some abilities. But once the damage is permanent, the victim often has to change their entire life to adapt to their brain’s limited function and loved ones may have to alter their lives to care for them.

Understanding the Long-Term Impact of Moderate to Severe TBIs

Minor TBIs, such as a concussion, rarely result in long-term complications. While a person may have a few weeks or months of changes like mood swings, sleep issues, and headaches, minor TBIs tend to heal on their own with rest, do not require surgical intervention, and result in a full recovery. The only time a minor TBI would result in long-term or permanent brain damage is when the victim does not receive proper treatment or suffers a subsequent TBI before the first TBI had time to heal.

A moderate to severe TBI, on the other hand, can result in permanent disabilities. These may include physical or mental impairments. Even patients who appear as they have recovered fully could suffer from long-term symptoms that plague them the rest of their lives, such as permanent changes in mood or personality.

Common Physical Disabilities Associated with Moderate to Severe TBI Injuries

The type and severity of the TBI determine which physical disabilities a person suffers, but some common motor deficits victims may experience the rest of their lives include:

  • Paralysis: The victim may be paralyzed on one side of the body, from a certain point down, or entirely. It could be so severe that they require feeding tubes and breathing machines, as their body cannot regulate on its own due to the paralysis.
  • Uncontrolled Movements or Muscle Stiffness: The brain sends signals to the muscles to move. When those signals are disrupted or permanently affected, a victim might suffer from muscle stiffness and be unable to move or bend a certain area of the body. Likewise, they could suffer from uncontrollable movements, such as shakes.
  • Inability to Walk, Talk or Swallow: A person’s brain controls all necessary functions of survival, including walking, talking, and swallowing. With permanent injuries to these areas of the brain, a person may need help walking, may be unable to swallow and require IV fluids and feeding tubes, and lose their ability to communicate with loved ones.
  • Vision Loss or Permanent Blindness: The brain interprets what the eyes see, but when that portion of the brain is permanently damaged, a person may suffer partial vision loss or permanent blindness.
  • Inability to Think or Remember: A person may take longer to remember details, such as a family member’s name or what they did a few hours ago. They may be unable to make new memories or think cognitively, too. This can result in difficulties with work, social relationships, and even personal relationships with family.
  • Significant Decrease in Quality of Life: When a person cannot walk, talk, maintain social and professional relationships, keep a job, or even resume normal activities they did before the injury, it affects them emotionally. Their quality of life decreases significantly, and they may suffer from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Personality and Behavior Changes: A person’s brain dictates their personality, including how they act in specific situations. It also controls mood and behavior. In some cases, a person’s character could be permanently altered. Likewise, they may have severe behavior changes, such as impulse control problems.
  • Sensory Complications: Brain damage can also make it difficult to distinguish changes in temperature, use the five senses (taste, smell, hearing, touch, and taste), and perceiving movement.
  • Hearing Loss: Just like potential vision loss, brain damage can also cause a decrease or permanent loss of hearing. A person could also suffer from tinnitus, which is a continuous ringing in the ears. Alternatively, certain types of brain damage cause intolerances or sensitivities to specific sounds – sounds that never bothered a person before their injury.

TBIs with Serious, Permanent Injuries Affect a Person’s Day-to-Day Life

When brain injuries result in permanent damage, a person’s life is never the same. Not only does it affect them, but it affects those close to them, too. Someone with severe deficits may need around-the-clock nursing home care. A parent may no longer be able to care for their children or even help rear their children. A spouse may no longer be able to share in the relationship with their husband or wife or contribute to the household’s income.

Furthermore, these permanent injuries and changes can decrease a person’s lifespan, quality of life, and their financial stability.

The cost of treating and caring for someone with permanent brain damage is extensive.

Speak with a TBI Injury Attorney Today

If you have a loved one that suffered a TBI and now has permanent deficits as a result, you may be entitled to compensation when someone’s negligence caused that injury.  You can seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain, suffering, and long-term complications that arise from permanent injuries.

Speak with the attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC, today about your loved one’s injury. You can schedule a free case evaluation with our team by calling 206-429-8772. Our team has experience helping countless victims of TBIs recover the compensation they need. While no amount of funds can bring back a person’s physical, emotional, and mental losses, they should not suffer financially due to someone’s negligence.

Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner has a proven track record of success. Following his graduation from Willamette University with a double major in mathematics and economics, Matt worked as an economist for the Office of Economic Analysis for the State of Oregon before moving onto working in mortgage banking and real estate.