5 Traumatic Brain Injury Facts

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traumatic brain injury. Chalkboard on a wooden background.

Traumatic brain injuries happen pretty often in the United States. There are many ways they can occur, but when they do, you should know that your life will change dramatically. You can expect a long, hard road back.

Doctors sometimes abbreviate traumatic brain injuries as TBIs. They can treat them better now than they used to, with the technological advancements over the past few decades.

Let’s look at some traumatic brain injury facts that you should know about, just in case this ever happens to you.

They Can Happen Lots of Different Ways

There is no single way that people get traumatic brain injuries. You can get a TBI from:

  • A slip and fall
  • Something falling and striking you in the head
  • A car accident impact

Every year in the US, about 2.8 million people suffer a TBI. That’s quite a high number if you think about it.

You might suffer a TBI at work, at home, or when you’re walking down the street. You never know when an accident could occur.

While there is no perfect way to avoid TBIs, it’s helpful to keep a baseline awareness of what’s happening around you. TBIs often occur with careless people who don’t notice potentially dangerous situations.

They Can Impact Your Memory

One thing that TBIs can do is impact your memory. They can damage:

  • Short-term memory
  • Long-term memory

TBIs that damage your short-term memory are more common. This is also easier for you to overcome.

You can play memory games that will help you remember small things that happen during the day. You can also carry a paper and pen with you to jot down vital things you think you should remember, like tasks you have to perform. You can use your smartphone’s notes feature as well.

If you’ve lost long-term memories, like where you grew up, where you met your spouse, who your friends are, etc., that will worry you and those around you. You’ll have to speak to a specialist about ways you might recover those memories.

A TBI Can Impact Your Speech

A TBI can also impact how well you speak. If the brain’s speech center suffered damage, you might not be able to communicate as easily as you once could.

Your ability might improve somewhat over time, but you’ll probably have to work at it. There are special classes you can take that should speed up this process.

In time, you might get back most of your vocabulary. Perhaps in conversation, you’ll need to speak slowly and distinctly, thinking about each word before you utter it.

This slow, meticulous process might frustrate you, but if you’re patient, you can probably persevere. It depends on the severity of the brain damage extent.

A TBI Can Impact Your Motor Functions

Because the brain controls just about everything having to do with the body, you also might have to relearn basic movements if you suffer a TBI. Maybe you’ll need to learn how to walk again.

You might need to retrofit your house or apartment with railings you can hold onto as you move around. You might need a cane to walk around, or a walker. Eventually, you may not need these things anymore, but in the early going, you may not be able to get anywhere without them.

With severe TBIs, you may even have to spend some time in a wheelchair before you can regain your walking abilities. As for more complex motions, those might take longer to come back, or in some cases, they might never return.

You Might Have Strong Emotions

You may have a difficult time tamping down your emotions as well. Depending on which part of your brain you damaged, you might cry or laugh inappropriately. You may struggle to fully control yourself.

You may act impulsively, doing things you ordinarily wouldn’t do. Your friends, family, or coworkers might experience shock because of something you do or say.

You might get better about controlling yourself as your brain heals. In the meantime, hopefully, your family and friends will be patient and understanding about what you’re experiencing.

A TBI means having to make some adjustments in your life. There are all kinds of different ones, some of them more severe than others. Ideally, you can recover if you stick with it and don’t allow it to discourage you.

Many people regain their lives despite TBIs. If you have an excellent support network, that could mean all the difference during this challenging time.

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