Many people never anticipate that their lives might be affected by a traumatic brain injury. Most people plan to graduate from high school, go to college, get a job, get married, get a house, have children, get a dog – and the list goes on. When a mild traumatic brain injury occurs as a result of an accident, that normal life may never be the same.
Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), also known as a concussion, is a closed head injury resulting from the brain bouncing inside the skull after a car crash, work accident, fall, sports injury or other blow to the head. The initial symptoms of MTBI might not be fully recognized because the injured person will likely continue talking, walking and moving. However, with time, the symptoms may become more noticeable. These could include:
Though many cases of MTBI clear up within weeks of initial injury, some are ongoing or even becomes permanent injuries. In these situations, the injured person may never be the same. He or she might not be able to enjoy the same activities as before the accident. Movies, concerts, sports and other activities can trigger excruciating migraine headaches, dizziness and exhaustion. With the stress of the physical impact and the grief of losing personal identity, individuals with MTBI may easily become frustrated, angry and depressed.
There is no standardized method of care for MTBI victims; there are no regimented treatment protocols. Because each MTBI case is different, a customized therapy plan is developed for each person. However, common components of MTBI therapy often include:
With MTBI, life changes not only for the person injured but also for the spouse or partner, friends and family. Silence fills the spaces where laughter and talking once flowed freely. And everything seems to center around hospital visits and therapy.
Close family members may need to consult with a psychologist trained in MTBI to learn how to work through the stress, grief and fear of a new normalcy. Life may never be the same after MTBI, but a trained professional can guide each member of the family through the stages of grief, acceptance and hope.