A concussion is a type of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that results from a blow to the head or a hit to the body that shakes or jars the brain. The sudden movement can be enough to create chemical changes in the brain or even stretch and/or damage brain cells.
What Should be Expected with a TBI?
A person does not have to lose consciousness in order to have a traumatic brain injury, and only some may exhibit symptoms, such as confusion, dizziness, nausea, headaches and balance problems. Some may also experience psychological and cognitive symptoms, including:
- Difficulty with attention
- Memory loss
- Slowed thinking
- Personality change
Most patients with a concussion typically recover within three weeks. However, some symptoms can last for several weeks, months or years, which is called Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Neuropsychological testing can be useful in determining the psychological and cognitive effects from a concussion. In addition, the results of the neuropsychological tests are used to make recommendations so that the person can improve their functioning at home, work and school.
What is CTE?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease caused by a history of repetitive head injuries. The disease has commonly been found in military veterans and athletes, including a number of former National Football League (NFL) players who are now experiencing symptoms after years of playing and suffering numerous repetitive head injuries such as concussions and/or sub-concussive blows to the head.
CTE slowly spreads throughout the brain, attacking brain cells that result in patients experiencing personality changes and problems with thinking, including memory loss, confusion and impaired judgment. Symptoms may worsen over time and may progress to the person having dementia. If you experience any of these symptoms, a neuropsychological evaluation may be helpful in determining the cognitive and personality effects after having repetitive blows to the head.
Can a Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury be Treated?
Psychologists may conduct Neuropsychological Testing to determine the effects of a traumatic brain injury on a patient’s thinking, emotions and behavior. Cognitive rehabilitation may help the patient learn strategies to help improve thinking. Psychotherapy can also help the patient learn coping strategies and provide him/her with education about the traumatic brain injury.