The Brain Trauma Foundation states that every year, traumatic brain injuries affect approximately 2.5 million people, and you may be one of the many trying to cope with one of these injuries. These life-threatening injuries usually occur due to a violent jolt or blow to the body or head, or when an object penetrates the tissue within the brain.
Brain injuries can range from mild to severe. While a mild TBI may only temporarily affect your brain cells, a more serious TBI can result in bleeding, torn tissues, bruising and other damages that can lead to long-term issues or even death.
Mild brain injuries
Some of the symptoms and signs of a mild brain injury include the following:
- Loss of consciousness that lasts for a few seconds to several minutes
- Problems sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Fatigue, drowsiness, nausea or vomiting
- Problems with speech
- Loss of balance or persistent dizziness
If you have a mild TBI, you may also experience sensitivity to sound or light, sudden mood swings or changes, issues with memory or concentration and feelings of depression and anxiousness.
Severe brain injuries
If you sustain a severe brain injury, you may experience any of the symptoms of a mild TBI in addition to others that occur within the first few hours to the first few days after the accident. For example, you may develop a constant headache that worsens over time, have a hard time waking up from sleep, experience seizures or convulsions or have clear fluids drain from your ears or nose.
You may also become unusually agitated or combative, have a hard time speaking clearly and experience profound and lasting confusion. Additionally, weakness in your fingers and toes and loss of coordination are common symptoms of a severe TBI. Unlike a mild brain injury, these symptoms may last much longer or may never go away, depending on the severity and extent of the trauma.