Common Disabilities As A Result Of TBI

TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury, is also called “craniocerebral trauma.” It’s the result of a sharp blow, bump, or other sudden trauma to the head that disturbs the brain’s normal functioning. It can also occur when an object penetrates into the brain, such as a skull fragment or high-velocity object. A Traumatic Brain Injury can range from mild effects to severe, depending on the initial injury.

Common Disabilities As A Result Of  A Traumatic Brain Injury

The CDC reports that there were 2.87 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and fatalities related to TBI in 2014. Of those, 837,000 were children.

Falls are the leading cause of TBI, in over half of the cases. The second leading cause is being hit by or against an object. However, veterans can also suffer TBI as a result of their military service, such as exposure to IEDs (“improvised explosive devices.”)

Injuries from a TBI can range from a mild headache and concussion to a persistent vegetative state (coma.) Those who survive a TBI can develop disabilities as a result of the disruption of brain function. The brain injury can affect the way a person thinks, moves, and acts, and cause an individual to suffer a disability.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

Occurring directly after an injury event, nearly 50% of TBI victims experience PCS, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to many months. Generally temporary, it usually means that the patient cannot work or take part in other normal daily activities until symptoms are managed with medication, psychotherapy, and physical therapy. Patients with PCS may exhibit a range of symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness/Vertigo
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Apathy and sadness

Communication Disability

With symptoms ranging from mild to severe, TBI patients frequently have issues with communications and language. Some may experience minor symptoms such as failing to understand nonverbal cues like body language. Others may have trouble speaking in complete sentences and recalling specific words, pausing more, and using broken sentences.

More serious symptoms include the inability to understand or create written or spoken words, or speech interruptions such as slurring or speaking nonsensically. The problem is also frustrating for the patient because they can no longer communicate with others. They aren’t aware that what they are saying is gibberish and don’t understand why the other person can’t understand them.

Cognitive Disability

This can occur from one strong injury, or repetitive mild injuries (i.e., boxers, fighters, and football players.) The primary issue is memory loss, remembering new things, and having trouble with remembering past events.

Longer-term symptoms include brain fog, problem-solving, logical and abstract reasoning, making appropriate judgments, and things like organizing a schedule. These can make everyday activities like working impossible. Fortunately, recovery from a cognitive disability is the greatest in the first six months after the injury.

Sensory Problems

Because the brain is the control center of the senses, a TBI disrupts the sensory input. This can include:

  • Vision problems, including double vision, a limited range of vision, or a lack of visual acuity
  • Changes in smell, hearing, taste, and touch, such as:
    • Tinnitus
    • The ability to taste only bitter
    • The ability to only smell foul odors
    • Skin itching or tingling
  • Hand-eye coordination issues, leading to dropping or bumping into objects, or an unsteady gait
  • Heightened or loss of sensation of different body parts
  • Neglect of the left or right side
  • Not understanding the location of limbs are in relation to the body

Although the patient sees, he or she cannot process the input from the eyes. They may not recognize people or objects. These difficulties can make everyday activities like driving a car impossible.

Psychiatric And Emotional Difficulties

Many TBI patients exhibit behavioral and emotional problems. Changes from a TBI can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other changes in moods. Depending on the severity of the TBI, patients can also exhibit:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Sadness
  • Apathy
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Confusion
  • Frustration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Aggression
  • Violence/Combativeness
  • Compulsive behavior

While many patients can recover with medication and psychotherapy, some may not. They may eventually become child-like constantly, unable to function normally, leading to permanent disability.

Let Herren Law Help You With Your SSD or VA Disability Application

Whether you are applying for Social Security Disability or through the VA, Herren Law can tell you what you need and how to apply. If your claim is denied, we can also help you with an appeal.

We’ve helped over 4,000 Houstonians get their disability benefits. The Herren Law Firm in Houston, TX can assist with your application, appeals, and records gathering to prove your case, and win your claim. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees, and we only collect a fee if we win your case.


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