You can sustain a traumatic brain injury in many ways. You might get in a violent car accident or take a hard hit while playing soccer, football, or other contact sports. Something might fall and strike you on the head, or you might slip and fall in an establishment.
However it happens, if you sustain a serious brain injury, it can change your life dramatically. Here are the brain’s different parts and how an injury to each one can impact you.
If you suffer a TBI, shorthand for traumatic brain injury, your medical care can cost a great deal. During your life, you might pay anywhere from $85,000 to $3 million, depending on the damage extent. That is why:
- You must figure out whether you can hold someone else liable
- You need to go after them in court if you can blame someone else
If no one but you caused your injury, you’ll have to pay for all your medical bills. If so, you’d better hope you have excellent insurance. You might recover somewhat, but that all depends on the injury extent and the brain region that sustained the damage.
The frontal lobe controls speaking ability, personality, planning, concentration, attention, and more. If you damage this brain portion, you might have short or long-term memory loss. You might not be able to communicate as well, or you may struggle with emotional or behavioural control.
The temporal lobe controls:
- Spoken language understanding
- Sequence understanding and organization
If you damage this brain section, you might not understand the language when someone speaks to you. Like with frontal lobe damage, you might not remember events as well, either short or long-term. You may not remember something that someone said to you even moments before, or you may not fully comprehend when they try to talk to you.
The occipital lobe mostly controls your vision. If you damage this lobe, you will often deal with sight problems.
When you see an object, you may not be able to comprehend its shape or size. Because of this, if you suffer occipital lobe damage, you probably can’t drive anymore. You might not be able to do the same kind of work that you once did. You might go blind if the damage is bad enough.
The parietal lobe helps you with shape, colour, and size identification. It affects your sense of touch, as well.
If you damage it, your senses might not work as well as they once did. You may not be able to smell, taste, hear, see, or feel things properly. You might have trouble with one of these, some of them, or all of them.
Balanced movement and coordinated movement are cerebellum areas. If you damage this brain section, you may not be able to do things like walk in a straight line, balance on one foot, etc.
You might require a walker or cane to help you walk around, or you may even need a wheelchair. Driving will probably not be possible anymore.
The brain stem maintains your body’s involuntary responses. That includes breathing, heart rate, arousal, and consciousness.
Brain stem damage is the most lethal that you can suffer. While you can sometimes survive other damaged portions, brain stem damage can easily cause you to lapse into a coma or kill you.
Is brain damage recovery possible?
There are all kinds of brain damage. You might sustain what the doctors call a mild concussion. While there aren’t any ‘mild’ brain injuries, you can sometimes recovery fully if your brain did not sustain massive damage. Some time may pass, and you can rest and recuperate.
Following a TBI, the doctors can assess your brain injury. They can run tests and perform scans. You might see some specialists and ask what they recommend.
With some brain damage varieties, you can gradually train your body to do some things that it once could. It’s often hard to say since no two brain injuries are exactly alike.
You might one day get back to virtually the same person who you once were, with the same abilities. In other cases, you will regain some of your abilities, but you’ll always be just a bit different.
Brain injuries are tricky, but if you have loving, caring family members around you, they can at least help you as you try to cope with your new life.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.