Five Common Types of Brain Injuries

by | Jun 18, 2021 | Car Accidents, Injuries

These wounds fall into one of two general categories. Traumatic Brain Injuries are usually caused by, wait for it, trauma. That trauma could be a blow to the head. Just as commonly, however, the trauma could be witnessing a traumatic event or something like a car crash. Seeing something traumatic, like actual combat, alters brain chemistry. Furthermore, when people fall and land hard, their brains slam against the inside of their skulls.

Medical conditions usually cause Acquired Brain Injuries. Like TBIs, ABIs are hard to diagnose. Many ABIs don’t show up on normal diagnostic equipment. Furthermore, doctors often confuse initial head injury symptoms, like confusion, with shock from an accident or early-onset dementia. 

Both TBIs and ABIs often involve negligence. Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care to avoid accidents. Most doctors have a fiduciary duty, which means they must use all their skill and experience to properly diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. If drivers, doctors, or anyone else does not fulfil their legal duties, a Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain fair compensation in court.

Traumatic Brain Injury

This umbrella term usually covers injuries which run the gambit from mild concussions to debilitating injuries. But all TBIs have a few things in common.

All kinds of brain injuries are permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. Some combination of surgery and physical therapy usually eases the symptoms. If done properly, these things could almost eliminate the symptoms in many cases.

Brain injuries are also degenerative. The longer the wound goes untreated, the worse it gets. Therefore, it’s important to see a doctor who focuses on these kinds of injuries. Once TBI victims experience symptoms like nightmares, headaches, and tinnitus (serious ringing in the ears), these injuries are much more difficult to successfully treat.

PTSD

For many years, doctors did not think that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was a physical injury. It was “shell shock” in World War I and “battle fatigue” in World War II. In Vietnam, PTSD was a processing disorder that randomly affected some people and left others alone. Today, however, research has proven something else.

The Rambo series illustrates the evolution of this understanding. In the first installment, 1982’s First Blood, John Rambo was a PTSD monster. By the end of the series, 2019’s rather forgettable Rambo: Last Blood, the character was a full-fledged action hero.

As mentioned, combat and other traumatic events, like surviving or witnessing an assualt, cause chemical changes in the brain. The amygdala gets bigger and the cerebral cortex shrinks. The amygdala controls emotional responses and the cerebral cortex controls logical responses. The resulting imbalance explains symptoms like:

  • Hypervigilance,
  • Depression,
  • Anger,
  • Loss of interest, and
  • Flashbacks.

As research has improved, so have PTSD treatments. For example, MDMA (Ecstasy) has dramatically reduced PTSD symptoms in some victims after just one dose.

Concussion

We briefly mentioned concussions earlier. Now, let’s look at these common brain injuries in more detail. A concussion could either be a TBI or an ABI.

Concussions usually cause confusion. Many car crash victims are not thinking clearly in the wake of an accident because they have mild, undiagnosed concussions. That’s why victims should never give statements to insurance adjusters. But that’s the subject of another blog.

Over time, multiple concussions cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE has basically the same effect as dementia, with the exception that CTE also triggers suicidal thoughts in many people. No one is sure how many concussions it takes to develop CTE. But after just one, victims are definitely in a high risk category. Unfortunately, some doctors don’t act accordingly.

Stroke

A dangerous stroke cuts off oxygen flow to the brain. Strokes are also among the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses in Kentucky. Most doctors consider stroke to be an age-related condition. A few years ago, 50-something actor Luke Perry had a fatal stroke. His experience might open some doctors’ eyes, but we shall see.

For now, unless the patient fits the stroke profile, doctors often misdiagnose this illness as a digestive problem or even alcohol intoxication. This clear breach of their fiduciary duty means that their oxygen-deprived brains continue to deteriorate.

Encephalitis

This infection-related brain inflammation is almost impossible to diagnose, mostly because the cause is usually undetermined. Many people have herpes before they develop encephalitis. But many people are perfectly healthy.

Once again, the mild, initial symptoms of encephalitis are easily confused with something else. In fact, most doctors don’t even consider encephalitis, because there is no profile. So, unless a doctor immediately recognizes the signs of a brain injury, the inflammation gets worse and worse as the brain swells and presses against the skull.

Brain injuries come in many forms. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Fayette County and nearby jurisdictions. #goodelawyers