Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury resulting from a severe bump, blow or jolt to the head that causes the brain to become displaced. Not everyone who is struck in the head ends up with TBI, but according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 2.8 million emergency room visits each year are attributable to this condition. The CDC also says that TBI contributes to the deaths of over 50,000 individuals each year, and 90,000 individuals experience the onset of a TBI-related disability.
TBI manifests itself differently in each individual case. The milder forms, commonly known as concussions, may last only a few days or more. The most severe forms can last years or even become permanent conditions. Those affected by TBI typically experience a number of different symptoms, these may include:
- Loss of consciousness;
- Severe and ongoing headaches;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Dizziness or loss of balance;
- Difficulty with speech;
- Difficulty with focus and concentration;
- Memory loss;
- Drowsiness and fatigue;
- Sleeping more than usual;
- Mood changes or mood swings;
- Depression and anxiety.
Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury
For those who suffer from more severe forms of TBI, there is a long road to recovery. During this time, they will need to make adjustments to help cope with their “new normal.” It will not always be easy, but there are ways to make dealing with a traumatic brain injury less stressful:
Follow Doctor’s Orders
As mentioned earlier, TBI tends to manifest itself differently with each case. This makes the path to recovery far less predictable. For this reason, it is extremely important to listen to your doctor and follow all of your doctor’s advice. For example, check with your doctor before resuming important activities such as driving, exercising, and returning to work. It is also very likely that your doctor will tell you to refrain from using alcohol or tobacco. Understand that this is not being done to punish you, but to help with your recovery. Alcohol and tobacco have been shown to hinder the progress of recovery for TBI sufferers, and it is best to avoid these substances if at all possible.
Establish an Organized and Simplified Routine
Do everything possible to simplify your daily habits and make it easier to follow your routine. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as:
- Get up at the same time each day;
- Perform hygiene tasks in the same order;
- Eat meals at scheduled times each day;
- Keep items in the same location;
- Put labels on items for easy identification;
- Use a daily checklist to help stay on track;
- Take advantage of the numerous apps available to plan your day and track your activities.
Keep a Journal
Journaling not only helps you keep track of what has happened each day, it has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and lower the likelihood of becoming depressed. A journal can be used in whatever way suits the individual. For example, if you only want to write down a few of your thoughts during the day, that’s fine. Or, if you prefer to record a more detailed account of how your day went, that’s great too. By having a journal, you are able to read through previous entries to identify common issues that come up and focus on ways to effectively deal with them. You might also choose to share your journal with your doctor or counselor to help gain additional insights.
Get your Family and Friends Involved
When you are going through TBI, you need a support network of family and friends that are there to help you through this difficult time. You may need to rely on your immediate family for much of the organization of your daily routine. You may also need to educate extended family and friends about your condition, how it impacts you, in what they can do to help.
Obtain Experienced Legal Advice
There are numerous ways that traumatic brain injuries can occur, and many of them happen in accidents that result from the negligence or reckless actions of another party. If you or a loved one is suffering from TBI, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney, so you understand your legal rights and options. If another party was at fault for your injury, you have a right to compensation; which may include reimbursement for medical costs, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
At Garmo and Garmo, we have extensive experience representing clients who have suffered from TBI and other types of personal injury in San Diego, El Cajon, and throughout Southern California. If you are in this area, call us today at 619-441-2500 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.