Quality of Life After A Traumatic Brain Injury

For most people, the brain’s functions and its many responsibilities are taken for granted. We often forget how dependent we are on the brain which serves as the control center of our bodies. However, all of our everyday activities, including walking, talking, thinking, sensing, breathing, and feeling, rely on the brain. 

MRI brain scans

Whether from a vehicle collision, fall, blow to the head, or another type of disruption, traumatic brain injuries can suddenly and without warning change the course of a person’s life in an instant. Every year, approximately 1.7 million people in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury. Of this group, 52,000 people die, 275,000 people are hospitalized, and 1.3 million are treated and released.

Although it is reassuring to know that nearly 80% of TBI sufferers go on to live their lives, the question remains as to what their quality of life is like following the injury. People who have suffered brain injuries are incredibly resilient and often face many challenges on their road to recovery. 

Physical Impacts of a TBI 

Traumatic brain injuries can impact different parts of the brain. Depending on which part was affected, people suffering from TBIs can experience the following:

  • Ataxia (uncontrolled tremors)
  • Bladder and bowel difficulties
  • Balance and coordination problems 
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of stamina and energy
  • Speech difficulties 
  • Difficulties sleeping 
  • Disorders of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sensory impairments 
  • Muscle spasticity 
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis 

The physical consequences of a traumatic brain injury vary greatly from person to person, and each individual’s recovery journey will look different as well. 

Cognitive Impacts Following a TBI 

Many victims of traumatic brain injuries suffer from cognitive side effects in addition to physical ones. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating 
  • Memory lapses 
  • Reduced visual-perceptual skills 
  • Difficulty with language processing
  • Persistent confusion 
  • Impulsiveness 
  • Prone to distraction

When cognitive abilities are affected, it’s likely that the individual will experience issues with planning, abstract thinking, inhibiting appropriate actions, and rule acquisition. Because these difficulties may not seem apparent to those who are not aware of the individual’s condition, it can affect quality of life and interactions with those around them. 

Emotional and Behavioral Impacts Following a TBI

Traumatic brain injuries can also significantly impact a person’s emotions and behavior. Changes can include:

  • Lack of motivation or drive
  • Depression
  • Lack of awareness
  • Loss of inhibition 
  • Increased impulsiveness 
  • Sudden bouts of anger, irritability, or aggression
  • Apathy
  • Dependent behaviors 
  • Rapidly fluctuating emotions 
  • Obsession

These changes can be extremely frustrating for victims. Creating and managing a daily routine can be difficult for people that are recovering from a TBI; the most important thing a person can do is follow their doctor’s advice, manage expectations, and be patient with themselves. 

However, this is all easier said than done as recovering from a TBI can be a lifelong process. 

Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery Can Impact Personal Relationships

Traumatic brain injury recovery often involves a very thorough recovery plan that affects many elements of life: diet, exercise, rest, ability to attend school, ability to work, and other everyday activities. 

TBI patients may also need to see several specialists, such as neurologists, speech and language pathologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists to provide ongoing support for physical recovery. 

If you or a loved one with a TBI are suffering from mental health problems, it’s critical that you also seek support from psychologists, therapists, or other mental health professionals who can support your recovery journey. 

People that are recovering from traumatic brain injuries often need a great deal of support, both emotionally and physically, following the injury. Not only does a TBI impact the patient’s life, but that of their loved ones, friends, family, romantic partners, and children. Interpersonal relationship dynamics are often affected as a result of a TBI. 

Financial Impact of a TBI

Another quality of life factor that is often deeply impacted following a TBI is finances. The last thing anyone wants to think about following a serious injury is money, but unfortunately, that is the reality of such a life-altering event. 

Common costs associated with TBIs include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Related copays 
  • Continued cost of rehabilitation and recovery
  • Prescription medication
  • Necessary medical devices 
  • Surgery and other related procedures 

Following a TBI, financial management and organization may become more difficult. A TBI can impact all aspects of a person’s quality of life. However, if your TBI was caused by another’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to financial compensation. 
Contact the Colorado Injury Lawyers to schedule a risk-free consultation to learn more about your options and rights.