If you have recently been in an auto accident or a slip-and-fall, some of your injuries may be obvious. Perhaps you broke your arm or have a sore neck from whiplash. You may not have considered the possibility of a brain injury. You cannot always see or feel a brain injury, so how do you know if you have one? Here are five signs you should look for:
- Loss of consciousness. This one can be misleading, because people think they could not have a brain injury if they didn’t lose consciousness, but not everyone with a brain injury loses consciousness. The longer someone is unconscious, however, the more severe their brain injury tends to be.
- Physical symptoms. You may experience a range of physical symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, problems sleeping (either too much or too little) or dizziness. You may feel these symptoms right away, or you may not feel them until days or weeks later. In severe cases, you may have seizures or dilated eyes.
- Sensory issues. You may have blurred vision, sensitivity to light or sound, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Mental symptoms. Mental symptoms include problems with memory and concentration, or even confusion. You may find certain mental activities, such as reading or concentrating, make your headaches or other symptoms worse.
- Emotional changes. Brain injuries can cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression. You also may feel more irritable and combative.
What you should do if you think you have a brain injury
If you suspect you have a brain injury, talk to your doctor right away. Treatments do exist. You will probably undergo different tests to see what parts of your brain are affected. Then you and your doctor will come up with a treatment plan to target the symptoms you are having. Brain injuries are not always obvious, but they can be life-changing. The sooner you seek help, the better your results will be. The good news is, most types of brain injury can be treated and symptoms will improve with time.