How much can a person expect to recover from a severe brain injury?
This depends on the areas of the brain that were injured and the extent of the damage.
Because the human brain is so complicated, it’s extremely difficult to predict the long-term effects of any TBI. The recovery process can also only be measured individually due to the complexity of the brain and its ability to continue recovery over time.
Neuropsychological evaluations test for areas of specific impairment, and can be of great assistance in understanding the severity of injury and with appropriate help a TBI survivor can find ways to cope with any difficulty that may arise.
The return of functional skills may continue for years following the injury with the help of appropriate therapy.
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Why is it so difficult to predict the outcome of a TBI?
Although the field of neuroscience has advanced our understanding of TBI considerably, we still know a limited amount about the brain’s capacity to heal following injury.
Thus, instead of predicting outcomes, rehabilitation professionals often create treatment plans to help people achieve specific goals.
These plans to achieve specific goals must take into account the severity of injury, the amount of time (if any) spent in a minimally conscious state, and available resources.
What physical changes may occur due to a brain injury?
- Full or partial paralysis can affect a person’s ability to move, swallow, or breathe.
- Seizures (also called traumatic epilepsy)
- Problems with sleep
- Loss or diminished sense of smell/hearing/taste/sight
- Problems with balance
Individuals with TBI are considered to be at a high risk for depression. Because the brain regulates our emotional and psychological lives, TBI can substantially alter your sense of mental wellness.
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Some of these answers are based in whole or in part on publications of The Centers for Disease Control and the Traumatic Brain Injury Research Group at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It was written exclusively for brainline.org by Michael Paul Mason.