Brain injuries can occur when a person suffers a blow or jolt to the head or when a foreign object, such as a bone fragment or bullet, enters the brain tissue. People may sustain brain injuries during car accidents or physical altercations, while playing sports, and many other circumstances.
Brain injuries are typically categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. The severity of a brain injury is the most significant factor in determining what impact the injury will have on a person and the level of impairment they may experience.
This article will explore the differences between mild and severe brain injuries. We’ll discuss how these injuries can occur, how they affect people, and what type of treatment is required. If you or someone in your life has sustained a brain injury, reach out to the Hartman Center specialists now to learn about our effective brain injury treatment programs.
Assessing a Brain Injury
Medical professionals use a 15-point test called the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine the initial severity of a person’s brain injury. If you witness an accident or other event likely to cause a head injury, you may be able to provide helpful information for the person’s medical staff.
This may include:
- How the injury occurred
- If the person lost consciousness and for how long
- Symptoms you noticed after the injury, such as loss of coordination, alertness, or ability to speak
- Where on the head or body the person was struck
This information can help medical professionals assess the severity of a brain injury and provide accurate treatment.
Doctors may also use imaging tests to observe physical damage in the brain or measure the brain’s swelling using an intracranial pressure monitor. Understanding how an injury occurred and its severity is critical in preventing further damage and treating it correctly.
Understanding Mild Brain Injuries
People with traumatic brain injuries can exhibit a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. The severity of the brain injury often determines the intensity of a person’s symptoms, the type of symptoms they experience, and their ability to regain functioning.
The physical symptoms of a mild brain injury include:
- Speech problems
- Loss of balance
People who sustain a mild brain injury may experience sensory symptoms, such as:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in their sense of smell
Mild brain injuries can also cause cognitive and behavioral symptoms, including:
- Feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused
- Changes in sleep patterns–sleeping more than usual or finding it difficult to sleep well
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Mood swings
Typically, a mild brain injury does not cause more than a very brief loss of consciousness–a few seconds up to several minutes.
Understanding Severe Brain Injuries
People who sustain severe brain injuries may experience many of the symptoms common in mild brain injuries but will typically develop additional symptoms within a few hours or days after the head injury occurs.
- Physical symptoms of a severe brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness for longer periods–several minutes to hours
- Long-lasting headache or a headache that gets worse over time
- Ongoing nausea or vomiting
- Seizures or convulsions
- One or both pupils become dilated
- Clear fluid leaking from nose or ears
- Numbness or weakness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Difficult to awaken from sleep
People who sustain a severe brain injury may exhibit cognitive and mental symptoms, including:
- Agitation, aggression, and other unusual or erratic behaviors
- Slurred speech
- Significant confusion
- Coma or loss of consciousness
Children who sustain a brain injury may not be able to communicate their symptoms clearly. Caregivers must watch for physical and behavioral symptoms that indicate a brain injury, such as:
- Changes in appetite or eating/nursing
- Excessive irritability
- Inability to be consoled or excessive crying
- Difference in ability to sustain attention
- Changes in sleep habits
- Exhibiting depressive symptoms
- Lack of interest in activities or toys they like
If your child receives a blow to the head by falling, being struck with an object, or in another way, consult your pediatrician. Seek emergency medical care if your child shows symptoms of a brain injury.
Treatment for Mild Brain Injuries
Even though a brain injury may be considered “mild,” it is still a serious injury that requires timely medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Treatment for mild brain injuries typically includes plenty of rest and time away from work or school. People may also take over-the-counter pain relievers if they have a headache. Medical professionals often advise patients with mild brain injuries to limit physical and cognitive activities for several days to allow the brain time to heal.
It is crucial to monitor people with mild brain injuries and be alert for new or worsening symptoms that could indicate the injury is not healing or getting worse. The person who sustained the mild brain injury must consult their doctor before gradually returning to their regular activities.
Treatment for Severe Brain Injuries
A severe brain injury is a medical emergency. When responding to a severe head injury, medical providers will ensure the person has adequate blood supply and oxygen levels. They will take care to avoid further injury to the person’s head and neck. They will provide treatment to reduce swelling and bleeding in the brain.
People with severe brain injuries may require medications to stabilize them and minimize further damage, such as:
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Coma-inducing drugs
People may also require surgery to remove clots, reduce swelling, repair fractures, and address bleeding in the brain.
Once a person has been stabilized, they may require days, weeks, or even longer to heal. Rehabilitation and brain injury treatment are critical aspects of long-term healing after a severe brain injury.
A brain injury treatment program can help people learn coping skills, improve memory, restore physical and cognitive functioning, and address many of the long-term symptoms after sustaining a brain injury.
Find Brain Injury Treatment in Oradel Now
If you or someone you love has sustained a brain injury and you need brain injury treatment Oradel, contact the Hartman Center now. Our treatment programs can help you restore functioning, improve memory, and feel better after a brain injury occurs. Learn the skills you need and get the support you deserve by calling us now.