Brain damage is defined as the injuries caused to the brain that leads to the destruction or deterioration of brain cells. The damage to the brain is mainly caused by accidents or some physiological conditions. Studies show that nearly 2 million people suffer from brain injuries and about half of them succumb to death every year in India. Although road accidents, falls, and violence are the leading causes of brain injuries, several physiological conditions like heart attacks, tumors, and neurological illnesses can also damage the brain cells.
Severe brain injuries can be extremely devastating as the long-term injuries can affect the personality as well as the patient’s ability to lead life independently. Fortunately, proper rehabilitation and support systems can help patients restore their health, although challenges and uncertainties are unavoidable in the longer run. Here is a detailed overview of causes, symptoms, and treatments for brain damages.
Damage to the brain can severely affect the normal functioning of the brain. Brain injuries are usually classified into two types:- a traumatic brain injury and an acquired brain injury. The damages caused by an external force like severe blows to the head that moves the brain inside a skull is known as a Traumatic brain injury (TBI). In contrast, acquired brain injuries are the damages affecting the brain due to tumor or other neurological illnesses. Another type of brain injury, congenital brain damage is a type of injury that is either inherent or results from birth trauma.
Most of the injuries to the brain are localized or confined to a small area. The effects of mild brain injury usually are temporary. Headaches, nausea, confusion, and memory problems are the usual symptoms shown by a mild brain injury. Moderate brain injuries may show these symptoms more profoundly and for a longer time. However, the chances of a sound recovery are possible in both of these cases with the help of brain injury rehab centers and other similar institutions. Those in minimally responsive states or coma are typically categorized as patients with severe brain damages and persons suffering from these brain injuries might have an impaired life.
Brain injuries are the result of injuries, occurring from accidents, or prolonged illnesses. Severe blows to the head, accidents, and sports-related injuries fall, and physical violence is known to be the major cause of a traumatic brain injury. Exposure to harmful substances, heart attacks, strokes, strangulation, tumors, and aneurysms are the causes of acquired brain injuries. A surging rise in neurological diseases and drug uses has also been attributed to the damages.
Whether traumatic or acquired, symptoms affecting the patients would be devastating both physically and mentally. Symptoms are broadly categorized into four types, namely:- cognitive, physical, perpetual, and behavioral.
These symptoms affect the cognitive abilities of patients such as the way people think, learn, or remember. The mental skills that attribute to cognitive abilities are located in different parts of the brain. Hence, when a brain injury occurs, the patients might lose their ability to understand, concentrate, think, use language or solve problems. Some patients exhibit shortened attention span and diminished skill of decision-making.
Perpetual symptoms are those that affect sensory abilities such as lack of taste, poor sight, and severe speech problems. Several patients exhibit slow, indistinct, or rapid speech after an injury. Patients may also experience mobility issues due to heightened imbalances and coordination.
Physical symptoms are identified by extreme mental & physical fatigue, persistent headaches, paralysis, seizures, tremors, sleep disorders, slurred speech, and sensitivity to lights. Most of these symptoms are also associated with the increasing hormonal imbalances following brain injury.
Behavioural or emotional symptoms often vary for different patients. For some, it might be an exaggeration of the existent personality traits while for others, it might be an entirely new trait. However, symptoms such as irritability, impatience, intolerance, sluggishness, and increased aggressiveness are some of the common behavioural patterns shown by the patients.
A patient suffering from brain damage may need immediate medical attention as the correct diagnosis and treatment are essential to minimize the effects of the injury. CT Scans, X-rays, and neurophysical examinations like checking reflexes can provide the physicians with enough evidence about the extent and nature of the damage. In addition to the treatment, intense rehabilitation is necessary to reduce the effects. The brain injury rehab centres guide the patients to various procedures such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy as well as psychological support to help reduce the injury effects.