We often hear, “the world is a dangerous place.” The planet is not only filled with emotional problems and mental stressors, but many physical hazards, as well. While there are a number of dangers faced by individuals living in the world today, the development of a traumatic brain injury is one of the most common. And in addition to its extreme severity, brain injuries are considered by most experts to be relatively common—in fact, thousands of individuals will sustain a brain injury each year. Fortunately, there are options for those who have been diagnosed with this condition. Medications, surgery, and different types of rehabilitation are all good options for individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Before one can learn about the treatment options for those who have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, they should have a basic understanding of the condition itself. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, a traumatic brain injury occurs when an external, mechanical force is applied to the head, resulting in cognitive dysfunction. While there are a number of factors behind the development of this condition, car accidents, athletic injuries, and other similar events are all commonly to blame. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment for traumatic brain injury can vary quite dramatically.
As one might guess, medications are one of the most common treatment options for individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. In many cases, patients require diuretic prescriptions, to reduce fluid retention and pressure within the brain. Similarly, brain injury patients may be instructed to take anti-seizure drugs—especially during the first few weeks after the incident, when seizures are most common. Finally, those with the most severe cases of brain injury may require coma-inducing drugs, to further decrease damage to the brain and surrounding blood vessels.
While medications are often beneficial when it comes to lessening the symptoms of a brain injury, they may not always be enough. This is especially true for individuals who have been diagnosed with an especially severe brain injury, or have not responded to more traditional forms of treatment. For these patients, certain types of surgery—such as those that remove blood clots, repair skull fractures, or open a window to the brain—may be required. In most cases, the benefits of these procedures far outweigh any dangers associated with invasive treatment.
Finally, rehabilitation is an option for many individuals who have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. While rehabilitative therapies may vary from case to case, they often include psychological counseling, physical/occupational therapy, and assistance from a social worker or case manager. Individuals who have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and require further assistance may want to consult with their primary care physician. In most cases, this professional will be able to coordinate all appropriate care for patients who suffer with mild to severe cases of traumatic brain injuries.