• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a wide variety of symptoms. The impact on a person and his or her family can be devastating. Often times the person is normal one minute and the next, their life has abruptly changed. Since our brains define who we are, the consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives including our personality.

    There are varying degrees of TBI. These are determined by a neurological exam, which determines the degree of TBI : mild, moderate or severe.

    The neurological exam that is performed is called the Glasgow Coma Scale. This neurological exam applies numbers based on the symptoms and what the patient can do. There are 3 categories within the exam and the total number is added up between the 3 categories. Based on the result of all 3 areas, physicians then can determine the degree of TBI.

    The Impact of Moderate/Severe Traumatic Brain Injury can include:

    Cognitive deficits including difficulties with

    • Attention
    • Concentration
    • Distractibility
    • Memory
    • Speed of processing
    • Confusion
    • Perseveration
    • Impulsiveness
    • Language processing
    • Executive functions
    • Speech and Language
      • Not understanding the spoken word (receptive aphasia)
      • Difficulty speaking and being understood (expressive aphasia)
      • Slurred speech
      • Speaking very fast or very slow
      • Problems reading
      • Problems writing
    • Sensory
      • Difficulties with interpretation of touch, temperature, movement, limb position and fine discrimination
    • Perceptual
      • The integration of patterning of sensory impressions into psychologically meaningful data
    • Vision
      • Partial or total loss of vision
      • Weakness of eye muscles and double vision (diplopia)
      • Blurred vision
      • Problems judging distance
      • Involuntary eye movements (nystagmus)
      • Intolerance of light (photophobia)
    • Hearing
      • Decrease or loss of hearing
      • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
      • Increased sensitivity to sounds
    • Smell
      • Loss of diminished sense of smell (anosmia)
    • Taste
      • Loss or diminished sense of taste
    • Seizures
      • The convulsions associated with epilepsy that can be several types and can involve disruption in consciousness, sensory perception, or motor movements

    Physical Changes

    • Physical paralysis/spasticity
    • Chronic pain
    • Control of bowel and bladder
    • Sleep disorders
    • Loss of stamina
    • Appetite changes
    • Regulation of body temperature
    • Menstrual difficulties


    Social - Emotional

    • Dependent behaviors
    • Emotional lability
    • Lack of motivation
    • Irritability
    • Aggression
    • Depression
    • Disinhibition
    • Denial/lack of awareness