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Brain injury symptoms can be hard to manage for Virginians

Seeing a person suffer a damaging blow to their skull can be terrifying. Will it have an effect on the person's well-being? Will the victim remember who he or she is? Will the victim remember you? Is the person even alive? Once it is determined that a Virginian will survive a brain injury, then the victim and his or her loved ones will face the difficult path of dealing with the potentially life-altering symptoms and repercussions.

Traumatic brain injuries can have wide-reaching effects. They may not only affect a person's physical abilities, but also their cognitive and emotional abilities. Physically, the difficulties can include fatigue, seizures, difficulty swallowing, headaches, muscle tightness, reduced balance and even paralysis.

The cognitive symptoms might seem obvious to many Virginians. When a person's brain is injured, of course the person's ability to use the brain as they did previously will be diminished. The degree to which each person is affected will depend on the severity of a particular injury. Cognitive symptoms may include confusion, trouble initiating tasks and paying attention, lack of impulse control, memory loss, impaired reasoning and difficulty processing information.

There can also be emotional symptoms, including anger, depression, anxiety and mood swings. A person with a brain injury may become frustrated easily or have inappropriate reactions in certain situations, such as laughing or crying when such a reaction may not seem to suit the circumstances.

These behavioral issues can be difficult to manage and profoundly affect the lives of not only the person with the injury, but also his or her caretakers and loved ones, as they must learn how to navigate this new reality. Undergoing rehabilitation and therapy may help, but, unfortunately, long-term care may often be required.

Source:, "Brain Injury 101: Symptoms of Brain Injury", accessed July 17, 2015

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