Emotional Damages Caused by Traumatic Brain Injuries

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Welcome to the brain injury channel of Chicago law firm Passen & Powell. On this channel you will find valuable information about traumatic brain injuries and the consequences therefrom. If you suffered a brain injury in an auto accident or other personal injury, please feel free to contact us at info@passenpowell.com.

According to the Center for Disease Control, traumatic brain injuries result in nearly 3 million emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year.

Yet we know from experience – having represented many clients with TBIs – there’s more to the story.

In today’s video we are going to discuss the emotional consequences of traumatic brain injuries, which are oftentimes every bit as debilitating and permanent as the physical and neurological consequences.

TBIs can cause a number of psychological and emotional disorders. Emotional damages caused by traumatic brain injuries include:
• Anxiety,
• Depression,
• PTSD,
• and other related symptoms

The nature and extent of emotional damage following TBI often depends on a number of factors, such as:
• The severity of the TBI;
• The area of the brain that was damaged; and
• The person’s age, medical history, and background

The exact mechanism of injury resulting in psychological or emotional disorders is not well understood.

We know that head trauma can cause damage to the brain, such as bleeding, bruising, swelling, inflammation, as well as microscopic damage to the neurons and axons in the brain that cannot be seen on traditional imaging.

We also know that different regions of the brain control different functions, and can use that information to correlate TBIs with their emotional consequences.

For example, the frontal lobes of the brain are considered the emotional control center, so that damage to the frontal lobes may result in a variety of emotional symptoms, ranging from a complete lack of emotional expression to hyper-aggressive and socially inappropriate behavior.

One of the most common types of traumatic brain injury we see in our practice is a “coup-contrecoup injury” – which describes the area of brain damage in relation to the area of impact.

A coup injury occurs at the impact point, while a countercoup injury occurs at areas distant from the point of impact as a result of the rebound-effect of the brain bouncing off the skull and sending shock waves across the brain to distant locations.

For instance, someone with a countercoup injury might fall and strike the back of her head, but damage the frontal lobes, or even develop a more “diffuse” or widespread brain damage across the brain.

We also know that serious emotional consequences are not limited to frontal lobe injuries.
For example, the temporal lobes of the brain control memory, motor function, cognition, and speech.

It’s common for someone with a TBI involving the temporal lobes to become depressed or develop or other emotional problems as a consequence of coming to terms with their physical and neurological impairments.

Recent research suggests that stress and depression may actually make matters worse by slowing the brain’s recovery process by preventing the repair or growth of brain cells.

It’s also important to recognize that the emotional consequences are not limited to severe TBIs.
The vast majority of TBIs – more than 90% — are characterized as “Mild” – which simply means no or brief loss of consciousness and limited amnesia

A person who suffers a Mild TBI often undergoes testing, such as head CT or MRI, that comes back as “Normal,” and the person is told that they should be feeling better in a matter of weeks.

However, we know from our experience representing clients with TBI and speaking with their physicians, as well as from what the medical research tells us, that a substantial percentage of patients with Mild TBI never fully recover, and develop permanent, post-concussion syndrome, with a host of cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms.

The anxiety, depression, and personality changes experienced by people with Mild TBI are often particularly challenging because there is no identifiable physical injury, such as a broken leg.

And as time goes on, and they begin to recognize they may never fully recovery from the TBI, these emotional consequences often intensify.

It is often important for those suffering from the physical and emotional consequences of TBI to get help from one or more brain injury specialists, such as a:
• Neurologist;
• Neuropsychologist; and
• Rehabilitation Physician.

It’s also important – if you suspect the TBI was caused by the negligence of another, such as in a motor vehicle crash or workplace accident – to speak with a knowledgeable, experienced attorney as soon as possible.

We are happy to help. To discuss a potential case, give us a call at 312-527-4500.
Or visit us online at passenpowell.com

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