It’s now common knowledge that concussions leave lasting effects, but the true nature of these symptoms remain largely unknown to the public. One possibility is known as Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), which can impact an individual for months after their injury. Here’s everything you need to know.
When someone sustains a concussion, they are experiencing a mild traumatic brain injury. The simplest way to understand this is that brain itself has been damaged through force, often hitting against the skull.
Since the injury takes place within the brain, it can cause lasting damage that alters how a person feels and functions in life. Changes to physical behaviors, emotional states, cognitive ability, and behavioral symptoms take place.
Diagnosing this condition, as with most brain injuries, is difficult. It usually takes a specialist, but the first step is recognizing one’s own symptoms so that the path to treatment can begin. Once those symptoms are recognized, legal aid like this Bay Area car accident lawyer or your primary care physician can help you find the medical specialist you will need.
Recognizing the Symptoms
In most cases, the injured person will see symptoms arise within hours. Many subside within a few weeks, but those suffering from PCS will see their symptoms last for months to years. These negatively impact the ability to live a full, happy life.
Headaches and migraines are common with brain injury, just like your arm would be sore after breaking a bone. Roughly 60% of patients with a mild head injury report this symptom. You’re more likely to develop headaches or migraines after a traumatic brain injury if:
· You have a history of migraines
· You’ve already suffered a head injury
· You are a female
· You have other psychiatric disorders
Dizziness, lightheadedness, and vertigo are also common symptoms. These can become more intense when depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder are present. This symptom also indicates that a patient may take a longer time to recover, pointing directly to PCS.
Insomnia is incredibly common among those suffering from brain injuries. Others experience an excessive need for sleep at all hours of the day. Patients may begin talking in their sleep or moving erratically while dreaming, develop sleep apnea, and circadian sleep-wake rhythm disorders.
Cognitive and Emotional Changes
Impaired memory and an inability to concentrate are incredibly common. Fatigue, feeling foggy, and difficulty thinking or paying attention are also widely reported. These cognitive changes can easily impact a person’s ability to work, raise children, and even complete simple tasks depending on the severity.
Emotional changes affect someone’s personality. Irritability, no tolerance for stress, apathy or numbness, and mood swings can occur. In some cases, people experience disinhibition (an inability to stop inappropriate or unwanted behavior). Other symptoms of PCS include:
· Blurry or double vision
· Neck pain
· Sensitivity to light and sound
· Increased susceptibility to alcohol
Therapy is the number one solution to PCS. A cognitive test can determine if this condition is present, which is followed by cognitive behavioral therapy. Vestibular rehabilitation can help with dizziness and vertigo, as well.
Plenty of rest is prescribed, as are various medications for depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common. Exercise is also a vital part of recovery.