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September 19, 2014
by Christie Hunter

Life After a Brain Injury

September 19, 2014 04:55 by Christie Hunter  [About the Author]

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a severe intracranial injury caused by a violent blow to the skull. During TBI the brain is impacted by severe force, damaging the active brain cells and tearing delicate brain nerves, thus increasing the risk of internal bleeding in the brain. TBI is generally caused due to head-on collisions, skull fracture, etc.

However, the intensity and aftermath of brain injury depend on which part of the brain is injured. Moreover, the after effects of TBI also depend on the extent of damage. In minor injuries like ruptured brain nerves or brain swelling, a patient might take few days to recover. However, in extreme cases like amnesia, TBI can lead to grave consequences like permanent paralysis, coma or even death (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2012).1

TBI has a number of long-term effects that that can completely alter the life of a person. TBIs generally lead to permanent disabilities, and coping with the challenges of TBI is not only challenging for the patient but also for his/her family.

This article will inform readers about various aftermaths of TBI and what are the strategies which can help people cope with the challenges of life after a TBI.

Possible Disabilities after TBI 

Nordqvist (2010) in a research study explained some of the complications and challenges associated with brain injury. Depending on the type of the injury, these complications can be mild to severe. However, in this article readers will be informed about those complications which can considerably influence one’s life after recovering from a TBI.

1. Epilepsy Attacks

 Surgeons agree that in case of major brain surgery, there are fair chances that a person might suffer from epileptic attacks for the rest of his/her life, even after fully recovering from the injury trauma.

2. Ruptured Membranes

It is also highly possible that after a brain surgery, a person has to live with ruptured brain membranes for the rest of his/her life. Such a person cannot play outdoor games like skiing, surfing, hiking, bike racing etc., in which there are risks of head-on collisions.

3. Vision Problems

Surgeons suggest that eye nerves are very delicate and there are possibilities that a person might lose sight or become colorblind permanently after suffering from a brain injury. Moreover, these ruptured nerves cannot be repaired; therefore, any disability caused due to TBI is often permanent (Mayo Clinic, 2012).3

4. Impaired Cognitive Skills

TBIs can also permanently impact the learning abilities and cognitive skills of a person. Following are some of the issues that a person has to cope with for the rest of his life after a TBI:

·     Slow cognitive response.

·       Poor gross motor skills.

·       Disability to judge more than one dimension at a time.

·       Impaired verbal communication skills.

·       Eye contact problems.

·       Short-term or long-term memory loss.

5. Paralysis

After a severe TBI, a person can also suffer from permanent paralysis of any body part. Such a person can never lead a normal life, and can suffer form post-injury traumas.  

6. Severe Concussions

Severe concussions can permanently damage the brain and lead to fatal consequences like brain death, Parkinson’s’ disease and Alzheimer’s’ disease (Kerrigan, 2013).4

How to Overcome Post-Injury Trauma?

The post-injury trauma phase is not only difficult for the patient but also for the family members. Patient and Family Education Working Group (2012) 5 published a research article in which family members are guided to help a person suffering from TBI-related disabilities in the following ways:

Don’t Talk About the Trauma- This is probably the most effective way to divert the attention of a person and help him/her in accepting the changes. Doctors suggest that family members should treat the person normally. Sympathy or extra care can make the patient feel different from others. Moreover, all those activates should be avoided that can make the patient feel dependent on others.

Counseling- Stoler (2014) 6 suggested that counseling and therapies can help a patient and family members accept the change in life after a TBI. The most effective post TBI therapies suggested by experienced psychologists are:

·       Motivational Therapy- This therapy is recommended for both the patient and the family members to strategically cope with the challenges associated with the brain injury.

·       Stress Prevention Therapy: Post-injury trauma often leads to severe depressive disorders. These therapies help the patient think positively about the future and learn to do things without depending on others.  


1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2012). Traumatic brain injury.

2. Nordqvist C. (2010). What Is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)? What Causes Traumatic Brain Injury?

3. Mayo Clinic. (2012). Diseases and Conditions. Traumatic brain injury.

4. Kerrigan M. (2013). Life After Traumatic Brain Injury.

5. Patient and Family Education Working Group. (2012). The Brain Injury Book.  A Guide For Patients And Their Families. 

6. Stoler DR. (2014). Regain Your Life After a Brain Injury, I Did! The Resilient Brain. Psychology today

About the Author

Christie Hunter

Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at -

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