Taking a Multifaceted Approach to Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injuries
Around one million people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the US every year, with up to 90,000 of them facing a long-term disability due to this injury. Most people can recover safely at home, though those with moderate or severe TBIs may need ongoing care. If you or a loved one has experienced a TBI, taking a multifaceted approach is key, since different therapies and treatments may benefit every individual differently.
What Percentage of TBIs are Severe?
The CDC reports that around 75% of TBIs are mild or concussions, while approximately 10% are severe. The most common causes of TBIs include falls, firearm-related injuries, motor assaults, and vehicle crashes. Some of the most severe injuries include those resulting from a commercial vehicle accent. In a given year, close to 5,000 large trucks can be involved in fatal accidents and this type of event resulted in injury increased by 62% between 2009 and 2015. Despite accounting for only 8% of highway traffic, trucks are involved in about 11% of all fatal crashes. As is the case with road accidents, falls are common, with the CDC warning that fall-related TBI deaths are on the rise.
What Type of Therapy is Required?
With mild TBI, most people regain complete functioning within three months of their injury. With moderate and severe TBI, however, different approaches may be required-including physical therapy, speech and language therapy, pharmacotherapy, and in some cases, neurosurgery. The primary aim of TBI management is to prevent and treat secondary brain injury, so as to preserve the maximum amount of functioning brain tissue. Usually, the biggest improvement occurs within the first six months post-injury, though a person can continue to gain function years down the line.
Receiving Psychological Support
People who have experienced a TBI can have subsequent symptoms that can affect their psychological wellbeing. These include deficits in attention, concentration, and attention, as well as headache, fatigue, and other symptoms. Adjusting to these symptoms is psychologically draining, which is why psychotherapy, cognitive rehabilitation, and psychological counselling can all be of help. Psychologists can lead clients in cognitive rehabilitation and help them manage the emotional impact of their condition. They can also provide aid to family members, helping them to adjust and support a loved one who has experienced a TBI.
Supporting Brain Health
Once approved by their doctor, people who have experienced a TBI can take several steps to boost their brain health. These include following a Mediterranean-style diet and ensuring one consumes plenty of Vitamin B, antioxidants, and healthy Omega-3 essential fats. Regular exercise can also be of help since it boosts circulation to the brain and the rest of the body. Stress management (via natural therapies such as yoga, meditation, and time spent in nature) can help reduce worry and anxiety. One should additionally avoid smoking and alcohol and try to keep the brain engaged via challenges, puzzles, and the like. Finally, prioritizing quality sleep can help one feel more energized and uplifted.
TBIs are a common injury in the US. If you have experienced one, taking a multifaceted approach can help improve your recovery process. Aside from standard therapies, psychological support and embracing a healthy lifestyle can help maximize your healing process.