All kinds of things can cause traumatic brain injuries, which some in the medical community abbreviate as TBI. You can trip when walking down some stairs and strike your head on the way down. You might slide and fall on the ice during the winter, or you might hit your head during a car wreck.
However your TBI happened, though, you might be able to resume your life as it once was after a certain amount of time has elapsed. In many instances, though, your lifestyle after you sustain the TBI will little resemble how you used to live.
Let’s look at some ways your existence might be different if one of these situations occurs.
The TBI Might Shorten Your Life
Before we get into the potential lifestyle differences if you sustain a TBI, we should mention that these injuries occur more than you might suspect. Some of them are not as serious, like mild concussions. Others might injure you to the point that you’re in a vegetative state afterward.
British and Swedish researchers conducted a lengthy study. They looked at individuals with TBIs who lived longer than six months after the injury occurred.
They looked at 218,000 Swedes born after 1953 who sustained TBIs. Of this original group, 2,378 died before they reached age 56. That’s about 1.1%, which is a considerably higher rate than individuals who never sustained a TBI.
In other words, people who suffer a TBI tend to die earlier than those who have not received one. That’s not surprising since the brain is critical for one’s life and health.
You might recover from a TBI and feel like it has not impacted your life all that much. However, the research shows that you’re likely to die sooner, at what most people would consider a premature age.
You Might No Longer Be Able to Speak or Understand Language
Your lifestyle after sustaining a TBI often depends on what part of the brain the accident impacted. There are different parts of the brain that control various functions, so no two TBIs will be exactly alike. They may leave the individual able to do some things, but not others.
For instance, the injury might affect the area that controls speech and language understanding. You may not be able to understand what people say to you. That can be very problematic since you’ll hear something different from what they say.
You also may not be able to speak as well as you once could. You might garble your speech or say things other than what you intend.
Some people find that once they sustain a TBI, they have trouble with impulse control. There’s a part of the brain which governs that, so if a traumatic brain injury damages it, it makes sense that you might curse in inappropriate situations. You might take your clothes off in public or eat nothing but candy and cheeseburgers because you can’t restrain yourself.
You might say inappropriate things to your loved ones, coworkers, and friends. As you might expect, this type of TBI can make it very tough on the people around you. Some friendships, relationships, or marriages end if a TBI renders a person unable to control their behavior anymore.
You Might Have Extreme Emotional Responses
You also might be okay physically, but your emotional responses will be all over the place. You may laugh at times when the situation does not call for it. You also might cry over virtually nothing at all.
Unfortunately, if you’ve damaged your brain’s emotional center, there’s generally nothing you can do to control these outbursts. You might feel mortified if you have a reaction in public. The people around you probably don’t know that you’ve sustained a TBI, so they might just feel like you’re behaving inappropriately.
Some TBIs can impact you not just in one of the ways that we’ve described, but in several. Brain damage is usually permanent, and nothing you do can control what your behavior is like from that point forward.
Even when a TBI is not your fault, it’s easy to see how those around you might have trouble dealing with you if you’re unpredictable or abusive toward them. It’s the brain damage that’s doing it, but their patience is probably limited.
A TBI can cost you your career, relationships, and more. In this respect, it’s one of the most challenging injuries with which a person might have to contend.