A car accident, tripping, falling, or a football tackle are a few of the things that can cause you a severe head injury! Injuries of this kind can happen to anyone of any age; the damage may or may not impact the brain! In cases where damage can get serious, it is when a sudden movement in the head and brain causes the brain to bounce in the skull.
The twisting and turning in the skull injures the brain cells, affecting the blood vessels and creating chemical changes. Unwanted changes in the chemical processing of your brain lead to damage, medically termed a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concussions are the most common type of TBI, and the cases can be much worse or more manageable depending on the type of injuries you’re dealing with!
Symptoms of TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, impacting the extent of damage occurred to the brain. Mild cases are usually manageable, and it doesn’t affect one’s behaviour or mood. However, severe cases will have a very brutal impact on one’s mental state. Coping up with the injuries is a challenge, and here is how you can do it!
Is traumatic brain injuries common?
Traumatic brain injuries are the most common car accident injuries, followed by falls! Car crashes account for around 300,000 of the 1.7 million TBI cases annually! People 75 years and older deal with the highest TBI cases and hospitalization rate, majorly due to tripping and falling. In the US, it has become the leading cause of not just disability in people but also untimely death.
Anyone can experience an injury to the brain. However, 80% are estimated in males and older people! Older people are more prone to losing control and balance and hitting their heads on the floor! But, with that, even infants are the ones experiencing TBI from incidents like falling from the bed, changing tables, or tripping while attempting to walk/crawl!
Are you facing TBI symptoms?
Symptoms of TBI will significantly depend upon the severity of your head injuries. One of the key signs is loss of consciousness just after the blow. However, they regain consciousness soon after they’re stable! Instead of passing out, some people feel dazed and unresponsive for a long period of minutes after the incident.
Each year, around 75% of the TBI cases are mild, manageable, and can easily be treated by experts! If a person you know is going through the below-mentioned symptoms, they are dealing with one of the degrees of brain injury and needs immediate treatment.
- Behavior fluctuation very often
- Confusion/ Unable to remember things
- Convulsions or seizures
- Loss of bladder control
- Blurry vision
- Dizziness, fainting, or fatigue.
- Constant headaches
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea and vomiting
- Paralysis or Coma in serious cases
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tingling in the body
- Facial weakness
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Inability to articulate words, or speak
Those dealing with mild conditions can have a mix of Traumatic brain injury symptoms or no symptoms, most of which are just slight head pain or dizziness. While there are also cases where a person doesn’t feel a thing and realizes they are going through a brain injury days later!
The stress after a traumatic brain injury
Stress is one of the normal cases in your everyday life; along with TBI, it becomes much worse. Not only do you feel distracted and depressed, but it can also bring significant life changes and behavioural impacts that will leave you in the dark for a long time. Coping up with TBI needs not one but many things, and even loved ones around you play a big role in this.
It can occur if the TBI has affected the brain that controls your emotions. Changes in the brain are when some chemical disturbances affect the functioning of your brain. A person dealing with TBI may face challenges in expressing their feelings. They might have a hard time coping with their injuries, and they might need the support of their loved ones and will lose control of their independence.
They must adjust to the changes in their role in the family, especially when they are the sole earner! The dissatisfaction or frustration of doing nothing until fully recovered is an emotional burden.
The emotions can overwhelm a person, resulting in losing memories, forgetting things often, and anger, worry, and sadness overpowering. In situations like these, often, people are misunderstood for their behaviour.
When TBI occurs, many people suffer from depression. They feel tired, irritated, and worthless. They are unable to concentrate, lose their appetite, and even sleep. Sometimes, they even think of hurting themselves or someone because they are not mentally stable post the injuries. People with these feelings may assume life will be like this forever; however, treating TBI requires patience and time. Depression and the overwhelming feeling may interfere with one’s life badly, causing more than one can expect!
When a TBI occurs, anxiety again is the most common complication in the general population, and it usually happens in people dealing with mild injuries. Anxiety differs from person to person, but it is often fear and intense worry.
There can also be physical signs of anxiety, including rapid heartbeat, shaking, butterflies in the stomach, and even excessive sweating. Often, people with brain injuries feel overwhelmed, stressed, and confused without knowing why! They may feel anxious in the crowd and usually prefer their ‘ME’ time!
Coping with TBI: Dealing by yourself.
People dealing with TBI need to know they are not alone. They have friends and family, even doctors, to look out for them until they are completely fine. How they are going through anxiety and depression can be addressed well and handled if they take measures.
Aside from seeking medical help from doctors, here are a few of the strategies to handle your stress! Take an active part in healing your mental state, and don’t give up easily!
Know the trigger points
Take some time out of your day to consider the trigger points causing stress. Identifying your triggers will help you overcome the issues since you can address the things disturbing you. It is best to keep a diary with yourself and write down all the challenges you’re going through throughout the day and why!
Once you write down these in the journal, you can seek help from a doctor and show them your diary. It will help them determine what will work best for you to reduce stress. Plus, they will also guide you with things to do to cope with specific problems.
Involve yourself in physical activity
When you’re involved in physical activities, you give your body a good workout, leading to proper sleep, eating on time, and being active. The activities will alleviate the TBI symptoms and fight back against the condition you’re dealing with. Although many people may find physical activities overwhelming, it is one of the ways to help yourself recover quickly.
However, it is always best to seek advice from a doctor on this matter. Few TBI cases require proper rest and sleep. If you pressurize your body, it may result in more trouble than you’re dealing with already. So, physical activity may not seem to be a reasonable option for a selected few!
Sleep a lot
One of the major reasons for you to deal with stress is lack of sleep! Try to go to bed during the same time every day, as this will become a habit. Once the habit is built up, you will never face difficulties in sleeping, and that’s how you work on getting enough sleep. Sleep sufficiently, no matter what, as sleep contributes to coping with your mental state.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, try to create a relaxed atmosphere to feel better and calm. It can be anything from taking a warm bath, reading a book, listening to calming music, and even having a good dinner at night! Many valuable strategies can help you sleep peacefully and allow you to focus on your health!
Avoid unhealthy habits
Smoking and drinking are two of the worst things to avoid while managing your stress. These are extremely unhealthy habits and can cause you a lot of trouble. Alcohol consumption can also disrupt your thinking and affect your mental state too. Evidence suggests that food is one of the contributing factors to managing stress.
Caffeine, smoking, and alcohol are ways to make your mental state worse than it already is. Maintaining a healthy diet is best; it is a way to get going and feel good. Try to add food that makes your mood better and relaxed. It can be anything healthy and gives you the energy to go through your day.
Relax & breathe
Meditation has proven to relax many of the stress that comes with traumatic brain injuries. Meditation involves sitting comfortably and focusing on breathing, clearing your mind from the problems. It may take a lot of challenges for those who’re always thinking a lot and have several thoughts. But, if you focus and practice daily, you are bound to reduce your stress.
There are many guides online, plus professionals are actively helping people with brain injuries. They can guide you with proper meditative techniques to reduce your stress, and they will suggest some mindful exercises to bring your concentration back. Of course, it will be a challenge at the start. However, it is the best way that brings results slowly but definitely.
Find a listening ear
Dealing with injuries is a challenge in itself, and the last thing you want is to be alone with them. Who do you think would be the best person to talk to when you don’t feel good? Someone who you can speak anything very comfortably without the fear of being judged. Talk to some about your condition; if they aren’t friends or family, a doctor can help. Stress often clouds your head, and you have difficulties in making a judgment, deciding what is favourable for you or not.
When you talk about things that are bothering you with someone, you may get good ideas from them. They will suggest something that can have positive outcomes in your life. If not, they will listen to you and make you feel light-headed since you’re relaxed after bursting your emotion. Seek advice from someone from a different mindset will bring a new perspective to your solutions.
Find time for the things you love
It is best to take some time out of your day and do things you enjoy. It can be anything simple: socializing with your friends, relaxing in your home, and binge-watching dramas. Also, try to bake something or cook for yourself. Even if it’s small, like reading a good book or enjoying a stroll in the park, that will work too. TBI symptoms are already giving you stress; it is best to discuss it with someone who can help you, like a counsellor.
Just give yourself enough time to heal through the pain. You are already going through a lot; TBI can leave you in pain and emotional suffering. Take a deep breath, involve yourself in activities that you love and see how a big smile shows on your face.
Get enough time for yourself to have more things to be happy about and fewer things to worry about. Since you are in an attempt to remove stress away and cope with your injuries, this will be a good option.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
When you are going through significant life changes, you will face a hard time being positive! Try to understand that brain injuries are a big deal, and it has inappropriately affected your life! It is very normal to stress about something, but when it involves brain injuries and pain, the stress gets multiplied more. You might be unable to do things that were usually easy to perform, like going to work, playing, socializing, concentrating on something, and so on.
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury requires a lot of patience, time, and proper medications too. If you cannot do tasks that were easy earlier, don’t be hard on yourself and accept your condition. Focus on healing first rather than focusing on what your life is going through currently.
Treating your traumatic brain injury
Treating your brain injuries has to be on the top list. You can not avoid the pain, and the injuries, assuming that they will heal in time, especially when it is affecting your mood, behaviour, and health miserably. Here are a few things that can help you heal.
All the above challenges discussed, which include depression, stress, and anxiety, can be overwhelming. You last want to go into depression when you’re already dealing with pain. More often, people find benefits when they have someone to talk to; this is when they seek counselling and advice from an expert.
A counsellor is the one who will address your problems, understand your mental state and give you good advice too. They will work on fixating your depression through communication and proper medical treatment. You will realize, slowly over time, that a discussion with your counsellor can bring such a positive impact on you.
Many patients with moderate or severe injuries are often taken to the emergency room. But, if there are nothing serious, just normal symptoms, they can take medication and relax. Surgery is for those who are facing severe complications and excessive bleeding too. Now, the bleeding can be of two types, one internal and the other that you can be seen, adding panic and tension. It is when the need for surgery becomes high and is the last resort too.
Surgery is required when you need to remove a large hematoma or contusion. This condition may complicate your brain, compress it, and raise a lot of pressure on your skull. That is when surgery is needed, and these patients must also go under observation in the ICU.
There are many things involved in Traumatic Brain Injury rehabilitation: speed therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. These are the therapies that work effectively on patients. Plus, it is chosen based on the kind of problems the patient is going through. If they cannot articulate words or speak, they are suggested speech therapy. And that is exactly what a medical professional can guide you with.
Going through a traumatic brain injury is a challenge in itself. And knowing what actions to take to cope with such issues is very important. You last want to invite more problems than you’re already facing. Therefore, following the right strategy for healing is a good idea. Along with that, seeking help from a medical professional is best too.
Your healthcare provider can handle any type of brain injury, even if you feel it is not severe. They can give you the right advice, suggest medications, and so on. It is essential to know the signs you need to look for, which can be alarming. TBI usually causes lifelong problems in behaviour, emotional, and mental state. It is essential to address your condition at the earliest before it gets worse.