Will My Traumatic Brain Injury Get Worse if Left Untreated?
You can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to auto accidents, sports accidents, whiplash, and many other types of accidents in and out of your home. Some symptoms may seem minor at the time, but the brain is the most complex organ in the body and can be damaged in many ways. Even a short amount of time without the proper oxygen supply can cause life-changing symptoms.
At the time of the accident or even after paramedics have examined you and found no issues, the possibility remains that you may see severe symptoms weeks or months later. Too often as TBI lawyers, we see these issues go misdiagnosed or detected at the scene of the accident or in the doctor visits shortly after that.
If a TBI (such as a concussion) is misdiagnosed or left untreated for any reason, it may certainly lead to severe conditions later on, such as depression and the inability to lead an everyday life.
Other possible symptoms include:
Clumsiness or forgetfulness
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Frequent headaches or specific head pain
Mood or personality changes
If you let a concussion go untreated, it can lead to serious long-term health effects ranging from physical difficulties to emotional and mental issues. One of the more common symptoms that people suffer from is depression. Mood changes and irritability often occur, and the patient can become frustrated with themselves, especially during the recovery process.
Even one or two of these symptoms can have the ability to change moods (possibly reacting irrationally) or issues such as not being able to focus on your work. Your family may notice that you don’t act the same towards them or are “moody” or sad. More severe symptoms include a loss of vision or hearing and stuttering or having a loss of speech.
No one purposely leaves a traumatic brain injury untreated. Unfortunately, it is hard to diagnose certain symptoms and difficult to know what signs the patient may suffer. You tend to believe that you’re “okay,” perhaps even when you are not.
Medical Treatment and Rehabilitation Costs
The most crucial thing to do if you notice symptoms of a TBI is to get proper medical treatment as soon as possible. Even today, research on treatment for TBI has not come up with a single treatment that is effective for all patients. The testing can be long and tedious and may require a diagnosis by possibly more than one physician.
Treatment can come in varied forms and take time away from family and work. The medical bills can mount quickly, which can cause more significant stress on your situation and your family.
So along with the best doctors, you should retain a personal injury attorney to help answer all of your questions. Medical bills may be only one cost. You could also have a loss of income, the costs for care and rehabilitation, and recovery costs.
Fortunately today, rehabilitation programs are available to address cognitive retraining, psychosocial adjustment, communication and leisure skills, and vocational issues. With the appropriate support and funds needed and therapy, individuals with difficulties related to TBI can learn to overcome and compensate for their deficits resulting in successful reintegration into their home and work environments.
Returning to School or Work
The answer to this question is directly related to the severity of your injury and the type of symptoms that are being treated. This is often one of the most difficult phases of recovery from brain injury because a number of TBI symptoms can interfere with your ability to manage the demands of work and school environments. For example, concentration difficulties and memory problems may affect your capacity to learn new things in school. Severe fatigue may limit your ability to effectively handle work responsibilities throughout the day.
One important thing to keep in mind when attempting to return to work or school is that the process usually will be gradual. It would be unreasonable to expect the victim if a TBI to immediately perform at the level at which they were functioning prior to the TBI. Instead, you should gradually resume responsibilities as you are able, and slowly increase your workload and hours when you feel fully equipped to handle such increases.
Working, or any activity, should not be allowed to interfere with your treatment and rehabilitation. Recovery back to your “old self” may take a significant amount of time. A personal injury attorney is probably going to be as important to your recovery as are your medical specialists because you need the funds to keep your life and family intact and functioning. Sadly, it is not uncommon for the TBI patient to suffer a permanent disability. An experienced brain injury lawyer will attain better results and grater compensation for your injuries.
Were You in an Accident that Could Cause a Traumatic Brain Injury?
If you even suspect that you were involved in a situation that could cause a TBI, get the proper medical attention immediately. You may call your general practitioner first, but they will most likely refer you to a specialist in injuries to the brain or to the ER.
Make sure all of the necessary tests are done to assure you an accurate diagnosis. As stated, it is far too common to misdiagnose all or part of the damage in a TBI. Follow your medical team’s advice and the treatment plan. This may involve the help of your family, friends, or caregivers. Cognitive therapy can be long and frustrating, and you need the full support of those around you.
Last but not at all least, retain a local law firm that is experienced in helping the injured recover the compensation they deserve. The road to recovery might be long, but a full and healthy life after a TBI is possible. Lawyers and doctors will provide the guidance and care you need, so don’t be afraid to get help. Your wellbeing is worth it.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.