Brain injuries can occur in a variety of ways, from car accidents to simple trips and falls, and even bacterial infection. But, due to the wide-ranging nature of brain injury incidences and possibilities, there is a near-impossibly wide variety of symptoms and side-effects that can occur as a result of them. These are also the reason for which brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose effectively where no obvious injury or incident has taken place.
Many of these symptoms can have far-reaching impacts on the ability for victims to live a ‘normal’ life. What follow are some of the more common instances that affect brain injury sufferers, and how others can effectively assist victims in re-adjusting to life after injury.
One of the more visible ways in which acquired brain injuries can impact everyday life is through communication. There are a number of mechanisms by which communication can be affected in a brain injury victim. For example, a stroke victim can encounter difficulties through relaxed facial muscles hindering speech, or separately through the speech centre of their brain being damaged and resulting in aphasia.
Likewise, someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may have directly injured the part of their brain responsible for speech, or otherwise damaged parts of the brain responsible for long-term memory. In the latter case, they may need to re-learn how to speak or write – which can have catastrophic consequences for navigating day-to-day life after injury.
Behaviour and Cognition
Another expression of brain injury can occur with regard to behaviour. A popular historical example of this lies in the case of Phineas Gage, an American railroad worker who suffered a grievous head injury in the mid-19th century – with profound behavioural side-effects. Brain injury sufferers, particularly where injuries are localised to the frontal lobe, can experience shifts in behaviour and even personality – to say nothing of learning difficulties that can emerge from such damage.
Assisting Brain Injury Victims
The road to recovery is not a straightforward one when it comes to brain injury, and indeed ‘recovery’ can mean something different from individual to individual. As a friend or family member, there are some simple ways in which you can aid their recovery process.
One crucial way is to give a supervisory hand to carrying out administrative tasks that could prove difficult. For example, seeking compensation through brain injury claims requires the careful filing of paperwork and submission of information – a task that could prove difficult for someone struggling with memory or communication. Likewise, simple correspondence with landlords, mortgage providers or utilities companies can be troublesome, and your assistance could be key.
Aside from more directly handling or assisting with day-to-day activities, the simple act of being there for a brain injury victim can be incredibly helpful. The reassurance that you are there and patient can be, quite simply, relieving.