TBI

bandaged_brainTraumatic Brain Injury

The medical area for TBI treatments are centered on drug therapies that target symptoms. Drugs for depression, anxiety, headaches, vertigo, pain management and restless leg syndrome (to name a few) are available to manage symptoms. Unfortunately, many of these drugs have side-effects and (in some cases of TBIs) do not produce the desired outcome for managing symptoms. More importantly, the prescribed drugs don’t help to treat the root cause of the symptoms: brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are classified into three distinct classes: Mild, moderate or severe. The classification is based on the level of treatment you are assigned when entering an emergency room. The vast majority of brain injuries are in the mild category, accounting for ~80% of all types of head injuries. Concussions are classified as mild-to-moderate brain injuries, with symptoms and cognitive problems clearing up usually within days to weeks of the injury. It is estimated that anywhere from 9%-40% of people who experience a head injury will develop long-term symptoms and cognitive processing deficits.

These injuries are rarely visible for the world to see. In many cases, most people are unaware that the person they are talking to, working with or meeting for the first time has suffered a TBI. Lateness for work, inability to work, alcohol or drug addiction, anger management, lethargy or unsocial behavior are usually attributed to character flaws or moral failings, not realizing that a TBI may be at fault. The lack of any physical incapacitation leaves many healthy people wondering “What is wrong with this person?” In many cases, people that have suffered a TBI are not aware that they are living with an injury (see NFL Veterans) and often wonder the same thing, “What is wrong with me?”

Behavioral and cognitive retraining, as well as meditation and yoga, help to retrain TBI sufferers and adapt to symptoms and cognitive deficits. This adaptation to circumstances is usually described as “accepting a new normal” in life. This is the reality that many sufferers with long term TBIs (or post-concussion syndrome) have to face. We think that does not need to be the case.