“Trauma” can be defined in many different ways depending on what it is referring to – generally it is known to be a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. When referring to the brain, trauma is a sudden injury or damage done to the brain through a physical activity or occurrence. This can be anything from being shot in the head to falling and striking your head on an object forcefully. You can also fall from something and do damage to your brain through a sudden jolt followed by an impact. Most brain trauma incidents occur during traffic accidents, sporting injuries, falls and domestic violence with other violent crimes.
The damage a brain trauma can do to all aspects of a persons life should not be understated. The brain is a complex organ that controls every other part of the human body including mental, physical and emotional faculties. Depending on what has been affected by the injury, different symptoms will manifest themselves in the patient. They can include things like memory loss and apparent slowness, communicating and concentration difficulties alongside impaired judgment. Physical manifestations of brain trauma can include things like difficulties speaking, seizures, problems with vision, headaches and fatigue.
People who suffer from symptoms affecting their perception and learning abilities as well as their communication abilities may have varying manifestations of brain trauma depending on what kind of injury has been sustained and what personality traits they have. These problems will be most serious straight after the injury has occurred, and for most mild to medium injuries they should respond well to treatment and get significantly better in the long term. This is because any bruising or swelling that has affected the brain begins to subside, thus restoring ability to the affected area.
Injuries that have been sustained in one particular part of the brain are known as focal injuries and result in “focal damage”. Injuries of this nature can be significantly more difficult to treat and may result in more long-term damage. If the injury has been medium to severe, the swelling of the brain may affect the brain stem (which is towards the lower part of the brain) – this can cause things like coma and unconsciousness, as the brainstem controls our consciousness. It is possible that once the swelling goes down, the patient will recover from the coma, but this is all dependent on the severity of the damage caused in the original brain trauma.
In patients whose injury has not rendered them unconscious, they may experience difficulty concentrating or organizing their thoughts alongside difficulty learning new things. It is likely that the persons judgment will be impaired, and they may have problems finding words and remembering language-related information. This may improve over time, but injuries to the brain are difficult to track and progress will vary from individual to individual. Following brain trauma, speech may be affected, meaning that the patient can suffer from dysarthria and be difficult to understand and speaks with a constant slur – this depends on the area of the brain that has been damaged. Other patients suffer from apraxia which means that the patient has difficulty saying words correctly even though their muscles are working perfectly well.