Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries are very common, with adolescents and older adults being particularly at risk. Although a brief loss of consciousness makes for a definitive concussion diagnosis, most people who sustain a concussion do not experience a loss of consciousness; instead, they may appear confused, disoriented, or have no recollection of the actual injury or its immediate aftermath.
The most common symptoms in the first few days or weeks following a mild brain injury are headaches, dizziness, sleep problems, as well as emotional difficulties and cognitive problems, particularly problems with attention, concentration, memory, and what many patients describe as “brain fog.”
While for the majority of patients, these symptoms resolve fully within the first few weeks, it is not uncommon for some of the symptoms to persist longer. For patients with more significant brain injuries, those resulting in a prolonged loss of consciousness, cognitive decline may also be more severe and longer-lasting.
If the attention, memory, and/or emotional difficulties following a brain injury persist beyond the first few weeks, it is a good idea to seek a neuropsychological evaluation to help you figure out how exactly cognitive functioning is affected and what interventions should be put in place to facilitate your recovery.
It may be particularly important for children or young adults whose school functioning is affected as kids with recent concussions often need temporary accommodations at school to facilitate their recovery.