Aller au contenu

Everything you always wanted to know about TBI but were afraid to ask.
You are here : Home > TBI-Info > Questions and answers on TBIs > What is a TBI? > What are the consequences of a TBI?

What are the consequences of a TBI?

Some of this information comes from the SAAQ brochure, Traumatic Brain Injury.

TBIs can cause serious impairments (damages) that disrupt the daily and social lives of brain-injured persons and of their friends and relatives, often for a long period of time, and sometimes for the rest of their lives. [1]

It is important to understand that: A brain-injured person will not present all the following symptoms. The consequences of TBI will vary in quantity, intensity and nature from one person to the next.

A brain injury may accentuate personality traits or pre-trauma problems.

Consequences are presented in four categories.

Physical consequences

• Convulsions

• Reduced motor functions: difficulties faced moving and getting around

• Reduced coordination: ability to organize movements in a specific sequence

• Presence of abnormal movements like tremors and spasticity ("Spasticity" refers to sudden and involuntary movements.)

• Slowness of movement

• Loss of balance

• Paralysis

• Changes in one’s voice

• Difficulty feeding oneself

• Sensory loss:

- Vision (eyes): seeing double, loss of visual field

- Audition (ears): hearing problems, ringing in the ears

- Smell (nose): loss or absence of one’s sense of smell

- Taste (mouth): food does not taste the same as before the accident or is tasteless

- Touch (skin): reduced sensitivity to touch, heat, cold and pain

- Sensory hallucinations: smelling odours or perceiving sounds when there are none.

• Headaches

• Medical complications may affect the lungs, intestines, muscles, bones, skin or digestion. [2]

Intellectual consequences

• Problems with attention span and concentration

- Lack of selective attention (concentrating on one specific subject or event at a time) - Inability to concentrate long enough on a specific task

• Difficulty remembering, learning and understanding

- Difficulty understanding and reusing information

- Faltering short- and long-term memory

• Difficulty having a conversation with another person

• Difficulty planning or starting daily activities

• Difficulty taking a stand, evaluating a situation, and exercising judgment

• Difficulty organizing information (problems in one’s thought process)

• Difficulty carrying out some tasks like getting dressed or preparing a meal, despite the absence of physical problems (apraxia) • Difficulty speaking, reading, writing, counting, drawing (difficulty communicating information)

• Problems beginning a particular task, and once begun, having difficulty stopping.

Behavioural consequences

• Agitation

• Irritability: quickly getting angry

• Violent verbal or physical outbreaks

• Impulsiveness: reacting without thinking

• Anger

• Depression

• Self-mutilation: deliberately injuring oneself

• Thoughts of suicide

• Egocentric in personal relationships: self-centered and infantile behaviour

• Lowered inhibitions: less control, resulting in violations of generally accepted social norms

Emotional consequences

• Mood swings: tendency to laugh or cry without apparent reason, quickly moving from one emotional state to another (from sadness to euphoria)

• Diminished control over emotions

• Diminishing capacity for self-criticism: difficulty controlling one’s behaviour and actions

• Intolerance when needs are not met

• Difficulty understanding what other people can feel or think

• Lower self-esteem: putting oneself down, feeling unable to carry out former roles as a parent or spouse

• Apathy: less zest for life, little motivation for tackling new projects