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What complications are associated with traumatic brain injury?

If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you probably know how complex these situations can be. TBI is associated with a wide range of complications, some of which can be very severe and persistent. The Mayo Clinic explains some of the possible consequences of brain injuries.

Physical effects

Increased pressure in the brain is caused by fluid accumulation, also known as hydrocephalus. There is also a possibility of damage to both small and large blood vessels, which are associated with a heightened risk of stroke and the formation of blood clots. Some TBI victims also develop seizure disorders, which can occur soon after the accident or many years later.

Cognitive/emotional effects

Communication and language are linked to cognition. Depending on what area of the brain is affected, TBI can cause problems with both speaking and writing, issues with nonverbal cues, dysfunction of the muscles used to form words, and disorganized thoughts. In terms of the emotional impact, some people experience mood swings or bouts of depression and anxiety. Irritability is another issue, which can lead to anger in some cases.

Effects on consciousness

When many areas of the brain are damaged simultaneously, this can lead to a coma. In this state, a person is wholly unaware of their surroundings and cannot respond to stimulus. There is also a risk of a vegetative state, which entails an unawareness of surroundings but the ability to produce reflexive responses, such as blinking. A person can emerge from these states and transition into being minimally conscious. While there is some awareness, the person's ability to function is severely limited.

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