What Loved Ones Should Understand About Traumatic Brain Injury
Roughly 2.8 million Americans experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a given year, according to CDC data. These injuries don't just affect the individual; they also affect their family and loved ones who care for them. The impact of the impact can ripple throughout a lifetime. The more you know about how the injury has changed your loved one, the more you can help them recover and adapt to the "new normal" of life after TBI.
Personality changes are very common after a TBI. Some individuals may exhibit social anxiety, anger, and significant mood swings. Depression is exceedingly common as the reality of the injury sets in and the individual grieves the loss of their past self and fears future changes, such as the development of dementia or Alzheimers.
During the recovery process, many TBI survivors may find themselves stuck in a negative mindset that can amplify feelings of sadness and irritation. These post-TBI personality changes can be addressed with therapy and medication: the earlier treatment starts, the better. Getting your loved one to start treatment early on can help stop negative patterns from establishing themselves.
On the other side of the coin, some TBI survivors adopt a devil-may-care attitude. They've cheated death, licked their wounds, and they're ready to rock and roll. This, too, can be a roller coaster, and they may adopt a zest for life and develop a taste for risky behaviors. Whether that's casual dating or firewalking, it's vital to help them keep their feet on the ground and focused on recovery.
Family and caregivers should also watch for changes in memory, perception, and cognition. These are fluid and can change as the neurovascular couplings heal. Many TBI survivors will experience changes in the way they process information. This may mean you need to change the way you communicate. Ask your loved one whether you need to repeat things, write things down, etc. This conversation can be tricky, but it can alleviate confusion, frustration, and conflict.
Welmaker Injury Law is a personal injury firm in San Antonio that helps traumatic brain injury survivors recover compensation for their injuries. We invite you to contact our team at (210) 828-6033 to learn more about the legal services we offer and the resources available in Texas for the families and caregivers of TBI survivors.