A brain injury is a disruption of normal brain function. Car accidents are the primary cause of brain injuries as they tend to occur by a blow to the head or whiplash. Brain injuries may also occur without any loss of consciousness or without any blow to the head (e.g. having head jarred in a car accident).
Brain injury is complex and the severity of symptoms may range from mild to severe, such as unconsciousness or amnesia. Symptoms may be physical, cognitive or behavioral and emotional.
Physical symptoms may include:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Sensitivity to lights, noise or alcohol
- Sleep disturbance
- Decreased energy, quickness to fatigue or lethargy
There may also be cognitive deficits, such as:
- Difficulty maintaining attention or concentrating
- Short-term memory difficulties
- Difficulty with the ability to plan and organize, or perform a number of things simultaneously
Brain injuries may also cause behavioural and emotional changes:
- Impulsiveness and not knowing what’s socially acceptable
- Quickness to anger, a temper
- Mood swings
Because of this complex interplay of symptoms, deficits and changes, someone with a brain injury is often perceived by those close to them as a different person. Family members and long-time friends and colleagues are in the best position to identify and describe these changes.