The Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries: What You Need to Know

By Peter DePaolis

If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury, you might think that, once the initial medical crisis is over, normal life will resume. For some people with mild traumatic brain injury, recuperation can take only a few weeks, but with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, there might be permanent changes to life.

This blog will talk about some of the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries and what you need to know. If your traumatic brain injury was the result of someone else’s careless or intentional act, a DC brain injury attorney could help you seek financial compensation for your losses from the at-fault party.

Long-Term Complications of Concussions, Skull Fractures, and Other Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Mayo Clinic says that people can experience a wide range of long-term complications after a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is not surprising, when you consider that the brain directly or indirectly controls nearly every aspect of how the body functions. We will cover some of the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries by category.

Changes in State of Consciousness

According to the Mayo Clinic, a TBI can alter a person’s state of consciousness for a long time or permanently. For example:

  • If the individual is unconscious, not aware of anything around them, and not responsive, they are in a coma. A coma is a temporary state from which a person either wakes up or slips into a vegetative state.
  • A vegetative state can be permanent, but quite a few people shift to a minimally conscious state.
  • A minimally conscious state is usually an indication that the injured person is going to get at least somewhat better after being in a coma or vegetative state. 
  • When there is no measurable activity in the brain, the person is brain dead. There is no improvement possible at this point, no cure, and no recovery.

In addition to the dramatic changes in consciousness that many people are aware of after a TBI, these injuries can also cause other long-term challenges.

Physical, Intellectual, Communication, and Behavioral Problems

A moderate to severe traumatic brain injury can cause significant impairment to a person’s ability to earn a living, perform basic everyday functions, and interact with others. Some of the complications that can impact these things include the following:

  • Physical complications of seizures, hydrocephalus, vertigo (dizziness), and chronic headaches.
  • Damage to cranial nerves, resulting in facial paralysis, hearing loss, vision loss, double vision, and altered sense of taste or smell.
  • Cognitive or executive functioning challenges like struggles with memory, problem-solving, attention, or multitasking.
  • Communication challenges, including understanding speech or writing, difficulty following conversations, problems speaking or writing, and communication problems that impact social interaction.
  • Traumatic brain injuries can cause changes in the temperament or emotions of the person. Some examples include mood swings, anger, irritability, and depression.
  • Behavioral changes after a TBI can include verbal outbursts, risky conduct, and struggles with self-control.

Some studies indicate that after severe or multiple traumatic brain injuries, a person might develop a degenerative brain disorder, like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia with movement problems.

The long-term effects of traumatic brain injury can adversely affect a person’s quality of life as well as their ability to maintain relationships, support themselves, and function on a daily basis. A DC personal injury attorney could help you hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm they caused. We offer a free initial consultation. Contact our office today for help.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.