Damage to the brain is serious and can negatively impact an individual’s quality of life, especially when left untreated. Most brain damage occurs as a result of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries are often sustained during falls or sudden impacts from contact sports or car accidents, and affect 1.4 million Americans annually. However, brain damage can, in some cases, result from infections and other illnesses. While most will assume brain damage has occurred at the onset of clear symptoms, such as seizures or paralysis, some can be tougher to spot.Several symptoms of brain damage include:
1. Loss of Consciousness
While one might think loss of consciousness would always be easy to spot, this is not always the case. Traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, may cause a person to lose consciousness for as little as just a few seconds, making it simple for a parent or a coach on the athletic field to miss. And though an individual may regain consciousness very quickly, loss of consciousness for any amount of time should be taken seriously.
2. Persistent Headaches
Headaches can come in many different forms and have various causes. However, persistent headaches can sometimes be a sign of brain damage, particularly if they begin following an incident such as a fall, sports injury, or car accident. Persistent headaches should also be taken seriously if they worsen over time, or are accompanied by other symptoms.
Confusion, or disorientation, is the state of feeling as though you can’t think clearly, and often comes about after experiencing brain damage. Someone who is experiencing confusion might have difficulty completing thoughts, performing everyday tasks, or navigating familiar environments, such as their home or workplace.
4. Memory Loss
Another sign of brain damage is memory loss. When associated with brain damage, memory loss is more serious than simply being a little “forgetful” during a hectic day. It may manifest in a number of forms, from not remembering the injury that led to the brain damage to not retaining new information while performing everyday tasks, such as reading or having a conversation, to consistently forgetting about things you have planned, such as appointments or returning emails.
5. Changes in Speech
Of the symptoms on the list, changes in speech may be one of the most serious signs of potential brain damage, but can come in different forms. It's important, therefore, to recognize how speech alterations might present themselves.
This might include:
- Slurred speech
- Slowed speech
- Difficulty regulating speech volume
- Abnormal speech rhythm
6. Sensory Problems
Our senses dictate how we interact with the world around us. Damage to the brain may result in changes to those senses. One of the most common of these associated with brain damage is blurred vision. Other sensory problems may include strange tastes and smells with no apparent causes, hearing issues, strange or lost sensations on the skin, and poor hand-eye coordination, among others.
7. Changes in Mood and Behavior
Brain damage may also alter how a person feels and behaves. This can be a difficult sign to spot, as behavioral disturbances often do not become apparent until weeks after a brain injury has occurred. A person who has sustained brain damage might experience sudden mood swings, or feel as though they have lost control of their emotions. Common signs might include extreme irritability, feelings of depression, and anxiety. Individuals might also experience increased impulsiveness, or inappropriate behavior.
If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, you may have suffered brain damage, and should contact a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options. The Northport Wellness Center's Concussion Recovery program can help assist those who've experienced a brain injury in healing and returning to an optimal state of health. Contact Us Today!