Once you had dealt with the shock of hearing that your loved one had suffered a traumatic brain injury, your next question was probably, “What now?” As critical as this question is for your future, there is no uniform answer for what you can expect following a brain injury. So much depends on varying factors from patient to patient, and the fact is that medical science knows very little about the complex workings of the brain.
Nonetheless, there are certain changes you can prepare for. Though much depends on the severity of your loved one’s injury, the part of the brain involved and your loved one’s general health before the accident, brain injuries do have some commonalities for which you can prepare yourself. Suffice it to say that your world may never be the same.
How injury affects the brain
The brain controls every other area of the body. Damage to any part of your loved one’s brain may result in impairments. No matter how sophisticated the testing doctors use, they may not be able to predict how the injury will affect your loved one. However, there are six major areas the brain controls, and any of these may change after an injury:
- The way your loved one controls the movements of his or her body
- How he or she understands and processes information, including memories
- Your loved one’s ability to communicate with you and others
- The way your loved one processes and controls emotions
- Your loved one’s behavior
- The manner in which your loved one interacts with others
Your loved one may experience primary deficits directly related to the site of the injury. This may include having trouble with movement or balance, or struggling to process information or find the right words. Secondary impairments may develop subsequently. For example, if your loved one has trouble processing language, he or she may act out or behave inappropriately in public because of the frustration.
Working closely with New Jersey doctors, therapists and counselors may help your loved one learn to cope with some of the difficulties, but you may be facing a lifetime of struggle, frustration and pain. Your loved one may be unable to work, so the mounting medical bills may be overwhelming. If the injury-causing accident was the result of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you would be wise to seek legal advocacy for pursuing the compensation that will help you provide quality care for your loved one.