The Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

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The Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

The Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Suffering a serious blow to the head or another form of impact can cause devastating injuries. The most severe, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), has the ability to disrupt normal brain function and affect motor skills, cognitive ability, learning skills, and mood. There are many ongoing challenges associated with traumatic brain injuries, and even mild traumatic brain injuries can have lasting consequences. Learn more about the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury and what to do if you or a loved one is suffering as a result.

Direct Effects

Motor Defects

Patients with moderate to severe TBI can suffer from long-term motor defects that affect their overall movement and motor skills. This can include muscle stiffness and uncontrolled movements, loss of bladder functions, spasticity, seizures, and even paralysis. Some patients will also experience problems with swallowing, talking, walking, and carrying objects as a result of their injuries. 

Sensory Changes

Touch, smell, taste, hearing, and vision may be moderately or severely impacted. And it’s not uncommon for some patients to experience partial or total vision loss, diminished sense of smell, or loss of hearing. Those suffering from TBI may also have involuntary eye movements, increased sensitivity to sound and light, difficulty perceiving temperature and movement, and issues judging the distance between objects. 

Mood Changes

A range of psychological disorders including irritability, impulsiveness, lack of inhibition, aggression, and unpredictable mood swings can also occur. TBI can further cause behavioural changes in personality, resulting in independent behaviours and emotional imbalance. A person’s personality can dramatically change, and certain conditions can be activated, including depression, narcissism, and personality disorders.  

Cognitive Effects

In many cases, it can be incredibly difficult for patients to process information at a normal speed or clearly express themselves. This can result in slow response times and difficulty with reading, speaking, and pronunciation. Speech can be slurred or difficult to understand if areas in the brain that control speech are damaged. 

Indirect Effects

Relationship Issues

As a result of a TBI injury, many patients experience difficulty making and keeping relationships with others. Sudden mood disturbances and an inability to control anger or outbursts can create social and emotional unrest. 

Work-Related Issues

TBI can make it difficult for some to keep up at work. Inability to concentrate, along with social and emotional changes, can prevent a patient from performing their regular duties and cause work dysfunction. In more severe TBI cases, a person may not be able to return to work, even over time as their symptoms become too difficult to manage in a workplace setting.

Social Anxiety

TBI can be incredibly hard on those experiencing a physical and mental decline. Social anxiety disorder following a traumatic brain injury can be a factor. Anxiety can further lead to isolation, severe stress disorders, and mental health struggles. 

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are typical for those with traumatic brain injuries too. Insomnia and sleep-wake disturbances are among the most common symptoms following a TBI. Many patients experience severe daytime drowsiness that can further enhance symptoms such as confusion and irritability.

Appetite Changes

If part of the brain that controls appetite – the hypothalamus – is affected, then a number of changes can occur, including fullness, blood sugar levels, and hormone disruptions. Decreased appetite is commonly reported in TBI patients also.


Studies have linked severe TBI with a greater risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Older adults with a moderate brain injury typically demonstrate an increase in dementia risk compared to those who have not had a head injury in the past. This is why it’s so important to seek immediate care, even if symptoms appear mild. 

Every case of TBI is different. Some symptoms will go away in time, but others may turn into long-term and lifelong issues. If you or a loved one has endured a traumatic brain injury, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries and those long-term effects. Our law team at David Hollingsworth has decades of experience assisting TBI patients obtain the support they need to recover both financially and emotionally.

About the Author

David Hollingsworth has been a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa since 1999. David dedicates himself to helping people who have been injured in an accident, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, LTD claims, Accident Benefits claims and more. David and his team work closely with their clients and their families and help rebuild lives, following a traumatic accident. To learn more about David Hollingsworth, view his full profile.