Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a major public health problem in the United States. Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI, and about 52,000 die from them. Most of these injuries are mild, but about 235,000 people are hospitalized each year because of them. They can cause a wide range of problems including headache, dizziness, fatigue, poor concentration and memory, irritability, and mood changes. If you or someone you know has suffered a TBI it is important to take some steps to ensure the best possible outcome. Here are eight important steps to take after experiencing a TBI.
1. Revisit Why A TBI Occurred
Many times people sustain a TBI because of an accident. It is important to revisit the circumstances surrounding the accident to help prevent any future accidents. Talk to your doctor about what happened and ask if there are any recommendations to help avoid another injury. An important thing to consider here is hiring a Brain injury attorney who will help you get the right settlement for your damages. For example, if you were in a car accident, and the other driver was at fault, you could get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Additionally, your attorney will help to make sure that any future needs are taken care of, such as in-home care or long-term rehabilitation.
2. Seek Medical Attention
If you think you may have suffered a TBI it is important to seek medical attention right away. The sooner you are seen by a doctor the better chance you have of preventing further damage and beginning the road to recovery. Symptoms of a TBI can appear immediately or they may not show up for days or weeks after the injury. If you hit your head, even if you don’t think it was hard enough to cause a concussion, it is still important to be checked out by a doctor. Once you have been diagnosed with a TBI it is important to follow your doctor’s orders. This may include taking medication, getting rest, and avoiding activities that could worsen your symptoms. It is also important to attend all of your follow-up appointments and to keep your doctor up-to-date on how you are feeling.
3. Create A Support System
The road to recovery from a TBI can be long and difficult. Creating a support system can help you through tough times. Family and friends can provide emotional support and help with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and child care. There are also many support groups available for people with TBIs and their loved ones. These groups can provide valuable information and emotional support. For example, the Brain Injury Association of America has a national network of support groups.
4. Manage Your Symptoms
There are many ways to manage the symptoms of a TBI. For example, if you have headaches, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication or physical therapy. If you are having trouble sleeping, your doctor may recommend avoiding caffeine and using relaxation techniques before bedtime. If you are having trouble with memory or concentration, your doctor may recommend using organizational tools such as a planner or calendar.
5. Return To Activities Slowly
After sustaining a TBI it is important to return to your normal activities slowly. It is important not to push yourself too hard too soon as this can lead to setbacks in your recovery. You should start with small goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities as your symptoms allow. For example, if you used to run three miles a day, you may start by walking for 15 minutes a day and then slowly increase your time until you are back up to running three miles.
6. Incorporate Healthy Habits
Getting plenty of rest is important for people with TBIs. It is important to give your body time to heal. Getting enough sleep can also help to manage some of the symptoms of a TBI such as fatigue, moodiness, and irritability. Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. Additionally, eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with TBIs. Eating healthy foods can help your body to heal and can also help to manage some of the symptoms of a TBI, such as fatigue and moodiness. Foods that are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids are especially good for people with TBIs. Some examples of these types of foods include salmon, chicken, nuts, and seeds.
7. Get Help From A Professional
If you are having trouble managing your symptoms or returning to your normal activities, it may be time to seek professional help. There are many professionals who can help people with TBIs, such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, and occupational therapists. These professionals can help you to manage your symptoms and return to your normal activities. If the TBI has caused a speech impairment, make sure to contact a speech therapist or speech pathologist.
8. Avoid Alcohol And Recreational Drugs
It is important for people with TBIs to avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. Alcohol and drugs can interact with the medications that are often prescribed for people with TBIs and can worsen some of the symptoms of a TBI. Additionally, alcohol and drugs can impair judgment and increase the risk of falls and other accidents. If you have a TBI, it is important to talk to your doctor about whether or not alcohol and recreational drugs are safe for you. In many cases, consuming alcohol and recreational drugs is not worth the risk.
The road to recovery from a TBI can be long and difficult. You may need to advocate for yourself to get the help you need. These are just a few of the important steps that you should take after sustaining a TBI. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with your doctor. By considering these steps, you will be on your way to a successful recovery. And, as always, if you think you or someone you know has sustained a TBI, be sure to seek medical attention immediately.