When accidents happen, you may know immediately that you or a loved one has suffered a severe injury. In other cases, you may think you are okay, but start to feel worse as time goes on. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can fall into either category. They are often caused by a severe jolt or blow to the head. This could include an object entering the skull and hitting brain tissue. Many types of accidents can cause a TBI, including auto accidents, sports injuries, falls and explosive blasts. Often, you cannot see a TBI, however, so how do you know you have one?
Brain injuries can have a wide range of symptoms and effects on your body. Some mild brain injuries will heal on their own with little treatment. Others are life-altering and severe. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis, but you should look for these signs of a TBI:
- Lost consciousness: This is the most recognizable sign of a head injury. Some people assume that if they did not lose consciousness in their accident, they must not have an injury. You may still have a concussion without losing consciousness. Losing consciousness could mean your injury is more severe.
- Headaches and dizziness: If you hit your head, you may have bruises or a bump on the outside of your head. Internally, you might suffer from headaches, dizziness and trouble balancing. Some people have problems with coordination and even blurred vision.
- Vomiting or nausea: Brain injury victims often complain of nausea and vomiting, as well as seizures or convulsions.
- Problems with sleeping: You could find it more difficult to sleep or just the opposite. You might feel drowsy and fatigued.
- Confusion and mood changes: Mental symptoms include depression, anxiety, memory loss, an inability to concentrate and general confusion.
These are just the more common symptoms, but there are others. Anytime you think you may have a head injury, have a doctor check it out. What may feel mild at the time of the accident can worsen over days and weeks and become much more serious than when the injury happened.