Brain injuries can result in physical and cognitive impairment as well as emotional and behavioral changes. Brain injury disabilities are determined by the area of the brain which was injured. It is not uncommon for multiple areas of the brain to sustain injury in an accident. The initial severity of brain injury is not always indicative of the long-term outcome. A “mild” brain injury with no loss of consciousness may still result in life-long disabilities, often referred to as “post-concussion syndrome”. In the other hand, some brain injury victims have spent days or weeks in comas and gone on to make full recoveries.
Understanding Brain Injury Disabilities
Brain injury disabilities can come in combinations and the symptoms may come and go. In some cases, symptoms may not appear for weeks or months, or may worsen over time. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can be particularly elusive and confusing to victims and their loved ones.
Those with very severe initial impairment may have to relearn everything like they did from infancy, including basic activities such as walking and feeding themselves.
Cognitive impairment is a very common consequence of brain injury and can range from mild to severe. Cognitive disabilities can include problems with:
- Problem solving
- Concentration and attention
- Language, including difficulty thinking of words and speaking in gibberish but not realizing it
Any of the five senses can be affected by brain injury. Vision is most often affected, and impairment can come in the form of blind spots and other problems with vision and visual perception, rather than blindness or blurry vision. Hearing changes can include ringing ears as well as hearing loss.
Emotional and Behavioral
Brain injury victims often undergo radical personality changes, and develop behavioral and emotional problems. This is often the most difficult aspect of brain injury for victims and their loved ones to cope with, and in some cases leads to other problems including legal problems, substance abuse, and more injuries. Children and teenagers may stop maturing after brain injury, even if they do not develop cognitive disabilities.
Emotional and behavioral brain injury disabilities can include:
- Mood swings
- Unexplained outbursts of anger
- Unexplained outbursts of laughing or crying
- Loss of inhibitions
- Loss of self-control
- Inability to take criticism
- Childish behavior
- Extreme self-centeredness
- Criminal behavior
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
Other Brain Injury Disabilities
- Sleep disorders
- Lack of coordination
Brain injury has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and other movement disorders.