It’s well-known and accepted that traumatic brain injuries – those resulting from accidental or intentional harm – can lead to cognitive or behavioral problems. What is coming to light now is that brain injuries can haunt a victim many years after the injury has long been forgotten.
Research being performed at the Brain Injury Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has revealed that traumatic brain injuries could be responsible for a variety of problems previously thought to be unrelated to such an injury. These problems include everything from learning disabilities to chronic alcoholism and homelessness.
There are already an enormous number of Americans suffering from brain injuries. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that 5.3 million Americans currently suffer from mental or physical problems as a result of a brain injury. However, the CDC admits that this number could be too low, as it does not account for individuals who don’t seek treatment for their injuries or those who are don’t receive much treatment when they do go to the doctor or emergency room.
Research Reveals New Long-Term Risks from Head Injuries
Researchers studying the effects of brain injuries on the homeless population have come up with some surprising findings. Up to 82% of those studied were found to have suffered from a brain injury, usually during childhood. Additional studies have revealed that individuals suffering from a blow to the head that resulted in unconsciousness or a period of confusion were more than twice as likely as those who were not injured to abuse drugs or alcohol or experience depression.
Learning disabilities are thought to arise from some brain injuries, as well. One study funded by the U.S. Department of Education of children in a program for those with learning disabilities revealed that about half had experienced a hard blow to the head.
Mount Sinai researchers have previously discovered links between traumatic brain injuries and problems with balance, sleep difficulties, incontinence, and arthritis. In fact, nearly 60% of those suffering from a traumatic brain injury were found to have problems with balance and sleep. Women were found to be more likely than men to experience problems after a brain injury. These previous studies have also underscored recent findings – the more time that passes, the more likely an old brain injury will cause problems for its victim.
Help for Traumatic Brain Injury Victims
The new symptoms studied by researchers – homelessness, depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, learning disabilities – can occur so long after the brain injury happens that very often neither the victim nor their doctor puts the two together. The researchers hope that by highlighting the link between traumatic brain injuries and these previously unrelated ailments, those suffering can receive treatment tailored to their particular situation.
For example, special considerations and treatment can be given to students suffering from learning disabilities that result from a head injury. While pre-injury memory is often just fine, students suffering from a TBI often have problems remembering what they’ve learned since the accident. These students often have challenges with attention, processing speed, memory and executive function – many of which differ from the problems experienced by a student with a true (non-brain injury related) learning disability. Teachers can give students more time to process information or take tests, and can reduce classroom distractions to make it easier to focus. Adults suffering from brain injury related cognitive impairments also benefit from learning exercises that “retrain” them on how to process and retain information.
Understanding the long-term seriousness of a traumatic brain injury is very important if you’ve been injured in an accident. Brain injuries can happen in a truck or auto accident, in a workplace accident, or as a result of other accidents and injuries. While an accident victim might feel “fine” or “okay” days or years after the accident, problems can arise from a brain injury even decades after it occurred.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident, it is very important to discuss the long-term ramifications with your doctor. If your accident was the result of somebody else’s negligence, then it is equally important that you consult with an attorney familiar with personal injury law and traumatic brain injuries. It’s not enough to hold a negligent person or company responsible for the problems you’re experiencing right now – you need to consider your future, and with a brain injury your future could hold more challenges.
At VB Attorneys, we believe that through continuous and vigilant defense of brain injured clients, we can help even the playing field and ensure that our brain injured clients can live normal lives, or at least have the financial peace of mind to know that they will not be destitute for lack or work or the inability to make money. If you or someone you love are suffering from a traumatic brain injury, please contact VB Attorneys today. We have successfully tried cases for victims injured in truck or auto accidents, workplace accidents, or in other kinds of accidents and injuries.