Symptoms

Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 75% of TBIs that occur are mTBIs, or concussions. It is important to remember that not all blows to the head result in a TBI and that any of the following symptoms can occur for reasons other than TBI.

Common symptoms following mTBI or Concussion (often called Post-concussion Symptoms)

thinking and remembering
  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • feeling slowed down
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty remembering new information
physical symptoms
  • headache
  • fuzzy vision
  • nausea and vomiting (early on)
  • dizziness
  • bothered by light or noise
  • balance problems
  • fatigue
emotional symptoms
  • irritability
  • sadness
  • emotional ups and downs
  • nervousness/anxiety
sleep
  • sleeping more or less than usual
  • difficulty falling asleep

Some of the symptoms occur immediately, others not for some time. If you have had a mTBI see your medical provider.

A person should seek immediate medical attention for

  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache that doesn’t go away or gets worse
  • numbness, weakness, decreased coordination
  • slurred speech

Moderate to Severe Brain Injury Symptoms

People with moderate to severe TBI may have problems with physical function, cognitive (or thinking) processes or emotions (such as depression, anxiety, irritability, anger) that last over a longer time and which may affect ability to do things in the same way they did before injury.

For example, physical problems do not usually prevent returning to most activities. However, the TBI survivor may have long term difficulty with doing some physical activities as well or for as long as before. Problems with concentration, thinking and remembering, trouble finding the right word, confusion and difficulty in novel or complex situations may interfere with work, school or daily life. Perhaps the most troubling, particularly for family and friends, are problems with awareness of self and regulating emotions. Nonetheless, many are able to find ways to adapt and live a productive and happy life.