A traumatic brain injury can disrupt its normal function, at least temporarily and sometimes permanently. TBI can result from penetration of the skull with a foreign object or a violent jolt or blow to the head. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons cites statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating the number of TBI in the United States annually to be between 1.7 million and 3.8 million. Common causes of TBI include motor vehicle accidents and falls.
The effects of a traumatic brain can be difficult to predict. You may experience different symptoms depending on the area of the brain affected. However, the effects typically fall into one of five broad categories.
A traumatic brain injury can affect the way you think. You may frequently feel confused and disoriented. You may find that you become distracted more easily and are less able to concentrate for prolonged periods than before your injury. Environmental factors that never affected you before may suddenly cause overstimulation.
If the injury affects the language centers of your brain, you may have difficulty communicating through speech. It may be hard to understand others when they speak, or you may have difficulty finding the words to express what you mean.
A TBI may affect your ability to keep your balance or move your body. You may experience uncontrollable movements or have difficulty with coordination.
The injury may cause you to become oversensitive to sound or light. You may perceive sounds, tastes or smells differently than you did before the accident.
You may develop a chronic headache from a TBI. The pain may be recurrent, meaning that it comes and goes, or it may be constantly present.