Traumatic brain injury is a major issue in the news today. From teen and professional athletes to those who suffer from major car accidents, the public is only just becoming aware of the true damage caused by brain injuries. Such incidents don’t just affect the individual, but everyone in their lives, everyone they care about, and everyone who cares about them.
Injury to the brain has turned people’s lives upside-down. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to explore the effects of TBI on individuals and families, and the long road to recovery that many people with these injuries face.
Brain Injury Awareness Month
The purpose of Brain Injury Awareness Month is to increase public knowledge and awareness of brain injury, a condition that affects millions of people across the nation. Every year, according to brainline.org, 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), with 52,000 deaths. Brain injury is an invisible illness; while it can be caused by very visible physical damage, once the outside heals, what’s going on inside can’t be seen. This makes it difficult for people to cope with the ongoing tragedy of this kind of incident.
Brain injury can cause a range of severe symptoms and consequences, from sensory problems to coordination and paralysis. It can also cause symptoms that aren’t immediately visible, such as mood swings, loss of emotional range, severe rage, and a host of mental health and emotional problems.
Brain Injury Changes Lives
Many people never fully recover from a brain injury. More than 1.3 million people are released from emergency rooms annually following brain injuries. Many of these might still be able to do things like drive a car, go back to work and other normal daily activities, but damage to the brain can cause mental health issues from which one never fully recovers.
From temperature sensitivity to sensory problems to cognitive issues to impulsiveness, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and a range of other mental and emotional deficiencies, it’s often just as hard for loved ones to cope with the changes as it is for the person who suffered the injury, as this story shows.
From physical dysfunction to mental disabilities, a brain injury can be a very isolating experience. Friends and family who don’t know how to appropriately deal with the situation may become distant. The injured person may have difficulties performing their prior job and day to day responsibilities and, at a time where they could most use the support of others, may find their social life devastated.
People across the nation are using the hashtag #mybraininjury this month to put faces to the victims of brain injury and to tell their story. Support is already rolling in. Victims of TBI are continuing to tell their stories in hopes that as the public becomes more aware of the struggles and difficulties faced by ordinary people who have suffered extraordinary accidents, the condition will become less stigmatized. Now is the time to share these stories.