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The debilitating aftereffects of a TBI

Maryland residents who suffer a traumatic brain injury can face a very difficult future. A TBI can lead to catastrophic physical and mental complications, lifelong disabilities and death.

The Brain Injury Association of America explains that the consequences of a TBI are unpredictable since no two of them are exactly the same. Effects are complex and vary from person to person. In general, however, an injury to the left side of the brain can cause difficulties with speaking and in understanding words. In addition, it can decrease the person’s ability to think logically and to control the movements on the right side of his or her body. Severe anxiety and depression are other common results of a left-brain TBI.

An injury to the right side of the brain can cause visual problems, including the inability to judge distances. Sometimes a person who has received a right-brain TBI cannot recognize family members and other people whom he or she has known for years. Such an injury also can severely reduce the person’s ability to think creatively, see the “big picture” in any situation, and control the movements on the left side of his or her body.

When the injuries are scattered throughout the brain, people often become unable to think well, leaving them in a constant state of confusion. They cannot concentrate well and their attention span is severely reduced. These types of TBIs also often lead to epilepsy and the increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other disorders of the brain.

Lifetime TBI Costs

The Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Brookhaven Hospital projects that people who suffer a catastrophic TBI in their 20s could be faced with $15-$20 million in lifetime costs, with annual costs averaging about $500,000. These are direct costs for various types of medical, psychological, rehabilitation, and personal care. In addition, many TBI victims are unable to work and contribute to their own support and care.

The hidden costs of TBI are those that affect the families of TBI victims. Often someone in the family must quit his or her job in order to stay home and care for their disabled loved one. Not only do these caregivers lose their own means of support, they also are not paid for the care they give. Over time, they often suffer unrelieved stress that can lead to physical and psychological problems. The NRI estimates that $375 billion a year is “spent” in caring for the caregivers and “paying” for the care they give to TBI victims.

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