Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a unique medical condition that manifests itself differently with each individual case. TBI results from a serious bump, jolt, or blow to the head, often caused by a traumatic event such as an auto accident.
This condition has varying degrees of severity, and those who suffer from it can experience a wide range of symptoms. These may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Dizziness/loss of balance
- Severe and ongoing headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Problems with speech
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Memory loss
- Anxiety and depression
- Unusual behaviors
Recovering from TBI is just as much an art as it is a science. The treatment plan and prognosis for recovery depends largely on how severe the injury is, and what areas of the brain are affected. The mildest forms of TBI, commonly known as concussions, will often clear up within just a few days. On the other hand, more moderate to severe forms of this condition could affect the patient for an extended period of time.
How to Help a Loved One Cope with TBI
If you have someone close to you who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, it may be difficult to know how you can best help them. The first thing to realize is that TBI is unpredictable, and you will have many ups and downs along this journey. Be prepared for the long road ahead. Prepare to be frustrated, confused, to have your feelings hurt, and to have days when you don’t know what to do.
While all this is happening, remember that it is not your loved one’s fault. This is an injury, just like a broken arm or a broken leg, except that it is affecting the brain – the most complex organ in the body, the organ that controls the entire nervous system, regulates our thoughts and feelings, and helps shape who we are. Helping your loved one cope with this condition calls for infinite patience and the unwavering commitment to help them get better, no matter what obstacles they may face.
Here are some tips for helping your loved one cope with traumatic brain injury:
Listen to the Doctor
Rehabilitation is critical, and as mentioned earlier, it is not the same for each person. This makes it all the more important to listen to the doctor and make sure your loved one does everything he or she is told to do. Check with the doctor before resuming any activities, such as driving, exercising, and going back to work. And if the doctor tells your loved one to stick to a certain diet (e.g., eating anti-inflammatory foods) and refrain from tobacco and alcohol for a while, make sure these recommendations are followed. It may seem very tedious and restrictive at times, but the closer you follow the doctor’s orders, the better the chances your loved one will recover (or at least achieve maximum medical improvement) after the injury.
Don’t Try to Do It Alone
Dealing with the day to day frustrations of caring for a loved one with traumatic brain injury can push you are breaking point, especially if you do not seek additional support. The good news is, you are not the only one who has had to go through this. There are numerous support groups available both online and in your local community where you can obtain help and guidance and better understand this condition. It is also a very good idea to enlist the help of other family members and friends when they are available, so they can help relieve some of your burden.
Believe What your Loved One is Telling You
When someone has a brain injury, there is often a temptation to not take what they say seriously, much like you would with a child. It is true that much of their behavior may be related to this condition, but this does not make the pain they are experiencing any less real. Believe what they tell you they are going through, validate their feelings, and give them the reassurance they need to understand that you’ll be there for them no matter what.
Seek Skilled Legal Counsel
If your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury because of the negligence or reckless actions of another person or party, they may have the right to compensation; which may include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages (both present and future), pain and suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. To ensure that you are fully informed of their legal rights and options, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If the injury occurred in South Carolina, call Peake and Fowler today at 803-788-4370 for a free consultation. You may also message us online or stop by our Columbia, SC office in person at your convenience.