The month of March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and it’s the right time for us to debunk some popular myths and misconceptions about traumatic brain injury.
These are the facts.
Every 9 seconds, someone somewhere in the country suffers a brain injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 150 people die every day in hospitals across the country after suffering a brain injury. Those numbers do not include persons who have suffered a brain injury, and have not sought medical treatment for their injuries.
Three are many myths associated with brain injury, however. These are some common ones.
You require medical help only for severe brain injuries.
This is not true, and is, in fact, a dangerous myth because it prevents people from seeking medical advice when there is a moderate or mild brain injury. Any time there is a blow or jolt to the head that results in momentary confusion, disorientation or loss of consciousness even for a few seconds etc., it is time to seek medical help. Symptoms of brain injury are often not visible on the outside. There may be no external swelling or bleeding, but that does not mean that an injury has not occurred.
Loss of consciousness is the primary symptom of a brain injury.
In some minor types of brain injury like concussions, there may be no loss of consciousness at all. The person may simply go on about his work and routine, while the injury has already occurred. The bottom line is that medical attention must be sought even if the person did not suffer a loss of consciousness after the injury.
All brain injuries are traumatic brain injuries.
Some injuries are caused by loss of oxygen supply to the brain, stroke and other conditions. As many as 5 percent of brain injuries are related to non-trauma causes.
The recovery period for a brain injury is two years.
It is common for brain injury patients to show fewer symptoms of improvement after a period of two years after the injury. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and it is hard to predict the exact progression in recovery. Sometimes, persons show improvement after more than two years of treatment. The process of recovery is unpredictable and inconsistent, and can be expected to last for more than two years.
A brain injury can place severe stress on the patient as well as his family members who are his or her caregivers. Medical expenses can mount, placing further strain on loved ones. It’s not only the patient but also his family that may need counselling to adjust to this new phase of their lives.