What are the symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

The impact of a moderate to severe brain injury can include:

Cognitive deficits including difficulties with:

  • attention
  • concentration
  • distractability
  • 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 or 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 or 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 ability
  • lack of motivation
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • depression
  • disinhibition
  • denial/lack of awareness

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