A traumatic brain injury (also called TBI, mild traumatic brain injury, closed head injury or concussion) results from a blow to the head that causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull.

Traumatic brain injuries are always concerning and require immediate medical attention. After someone with a head injury is medically stabilized, they should get a neuropsychological evaluation to determine 3 important things:

• The severity of the head injury and prognosis for the future
• What areas of work or school or going to be difficult.
• How to use the patient’s strengths to make up for their weaknesses

Knowing this information can make it easier to develop strategies to recover and return to work/school or return to sports. In school-aged children it is particularly important to make sure that the school knows what to do for the child so they don’t get behind in their schoolwork.

A mild traumatic brain injury may cause some temporary mental confusion that usually fades after a brief period of time. More serious traumatic brain injuries occur when the brain is bruised, tissue is damaged, or there is bleeding inside the skull. As a brain injury becomes more severe, long-term cognitive changes become increasingly possible. Again, a lot can be done to help someone with a head injury, but time os of the essence.
Traumatic brain injuries result in a broad range of symptoms depending on what part of the brain was affected. Most signs and symptoms develop immediately after the injury, but some may begin to develop days or even weeks later.

Symptoms of a brain injury include:

• Attention/concentration difficulties
• Headache, dizziness and nausea
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Mood changes or irritability (i.e., feeling ‘flat’ or sad)
• Difficulty sleeping despite feeling fatigued or sleeping more than usual

Many brain injury-related symptoms can be successfully treated, and there are ways to help speed recovery, but it is important to inform schools/workplaces what is needed before the head injury hurts an individual’s performance. If you have concerns that you or a loved one may have had a Traumatic Brain Injury, please contact a local neuropsychologist like Dr. Brietzke for a free consultation to see if neuropsychological testing is appropriate for you. Dr. Brietzke has convenient offices in downtown Chicago and Oak Park, IL

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