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The Long-Term Effects of an Untreated Head Injury

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Posted on July 30, 2022

Head and brain injuries are some of the most dangerous types of injuries, as they can come with lasting or even permanent health consequences. A traumatic brain injury can cause physical, emotional and cognitive changes in a survivor. If left untreated, a head injury can cause even more severe damage to the brain. This is why it is crucial to always visit a doctor for professional medical care after an accident involving a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

More Severe Brain Damage

Many people make the mistake of assuming that if they are still conscious or feeling okay, a blow to the head couldn’t have been that bad or caused a brain injury. In many cases, however, serious brain injuries have little to no initial symptoms. Prompt medical care is the only way to receive an early brain injury diagnosis in these cases, and the treatment that a patient needs to prevent more severe damage to the brain.

One example is intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain. This is an extremely serious injury that may require immediate medical intervention, such as surgery, to treat so that the brain can heal. Yet a brain bleed may not show immediate symptoms. The victim may only notice signs of an injury when the bleeding has progressed to the point where it is placing pressure against the brain – at which time it may be too late to prevent permanent brain damage.

Swelling of the brain, known as cerebral edema, is also a severe traumatic brain injury that can have delayed or hidden symptoms. As the fluid increases the pressure inside of the skull, however, this type of injury can become noticeable. But it may be too late to treat the injury by the time symptoms arise. Even if a victim survives cerebral edema, he or she may suffer permanent debilitation due to the level of damage inflicted on the brain prior to treatment.

Physical Impairment

An untreated head injury can cause irreversible brain damage that manifests itself in a physical way in a patient. Physical impairments and debilitation are common in people who have sustained severe traumatic brain injuries. A brain injury can cause physical disabilities such as motor dysfunction, muscle spasticity, loss of balance and coordination, trouble speaking and eating, hearing or vision damage, and sensory changes. It can also result in seizures or epilepsy.

With physical therapy and rehabilitation, a brain injury survivor may be able to regain some motor skills or function lost because of a brain injury. Leaving a head injury untreated, however, greatly increases the odds of permanent physical impairment and brain damage. The sooner an accident victim receives medical care, the sooner his or her physical recovery can begin.

Emotional Damage

The way that an untreated head injury affects the brain can also result in emotional distress, mental health problems and psychological trauma. For example, a brain injury can alter the way that a victim responds to unexpected changes or news. Brain injury survivors often experience chronic depression, frustration, sadness, feelings of worthlessness and anxiety. Long-term personality and behavioral changes are also frequently reported. While these effects can occur even with prompt medical care, treating a brain injury right away can reduce the emotional and psychological toll that the injury takes on a victim.

Help Is Available for Brain Injury Survivors

The long-term effects of an untreated head injury can interfere with a victim’s quality or enjoyment of life, productivity, academics, work performance, social skills, relationships, and more. Going to a hospital right away for a potential head or brain injury is the best way to get the treatment that you need to start your recovery immediately. For more information about what to do after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Tampa, contact Vanguard Attorneys for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.