Know the Psychological Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury & Symptoms

Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury

Know the Psychological Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury & Symptoms

Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury can be quite fatal to mankind. It can be defined as a blow to the head causing penetrating or non-penetrating injuries.

The two main causes of Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury are fall and road traffic accidents. It leads to concussions or hemorrhage that at times can progress rapidly.

To know more about the condition and its grave complications, one can visit the best neuropsychiatrist in Patna, Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh. 


Traumatic Brain Injury Classification

Traumatic brain injury can be classified into two main types: focal and diffuse. 

Focal injuries consist of contusion, penetrating, and hematoma. 

Hematomas are further subdivided into 

  • Epidural hematoma
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Subarachnoid hematoma
  • Intracerebral/intraparenchymal hematoma 
  • Intraventricular hematoma

These Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury are mostly coup or counter coup lesions. They are detected by CT, MRI, or PET scans.

The main principle involved in these injuries is moving of the intracranial content to the opposite or impinging on the inside of a skull. Contusion is bleeding inside the brain that can be detected by imaging studies. 

Diffuse injuries consists of 

  • Concussions 
  • Abusive head trauma 
  • Diffuse axonal injury 
  • Blast 

This is a result of acceleration/deceleration injury. It causes nerve tissue tearing leading to disruption of brain and produce temporary/permanent brain injury, coma, or death. 

Open/penetrating injuries are caused due to impact of a knife, bullet, or other sharp object penetrating brain tissue.

It causes hair, or bone to penetrate the brain due to the force of the trauma. The dura matter can be breached, and if it is a ‘through-and-through’ injury, there will be open and exit wounds visible.

These kinds of injuries can stretch and rupture the brain tissue and blood vessels. 


What causes traumatic brain injury? 

Traumatic brain injury results due to fall or accidents. The damage to the brain depends on the severity, nature, and degree of damage of the injury. The common causes are 

Collisions: Vehicle collision with other vehicles like cars, motorcycles, or bicycles; or with passing by pedestrians can result in severe traumatic brain injury. 

Falls: Fall from ladder, buildings, or bed can cause major damage to the brain. Sometimes, older people have more tendency to fall in the bathroom or anywhere. 

Gunshot wounds can lead to open or closed penetrating wounds.  Domestic violence, assaults have shown to cause concussions and contusions. 

Shaken baby syndrome caused by violent shaking of the baby might even lead to fatal outcomes. 

Injuries related to sports activities like football, rugby, baseball, hockey, or boxing are quite common in youth and can cause serious injuries. 

Blast incidents can have grave consequences on an individual. Such traumatic injuries can leave patients with serious complications and sometimes death too. 


An individual going through traumatic brain injury, can have a wide range of symptoms depending on the extent of the injury. Traumatic injuries can be sectioned into mild, moderate and severe. 

  • Headache 
  • Fatigue or drowsiness 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling sensation in ears, change in smell, light sensitivity, bitter taste in mouth are defined as sensory symptoms
  • Loss of consciousness, memory problems, mood swings, sleeping difficulties, and feelings of anxiousness can be constituted as cognitive impairment symptoms. 
  • Repeating vomiting episodes
  • Seizures or convulsions 
  • Fluid or blood draining from ears 
  • Numbing feeling 
  • Confusion
  • Agitation, aggressive behavior 
  • Slurred speech
  • In severe decline of Glasgow coma scale, individual can fall into coma or can undergo brain death

The psychological effects of brain injury are reactions produced to the psychological damage from TBI. It results from neurochemical disruptions in the brain. This cause 

  • tiredness 
  • irritability
  • change in behavior symptoms
  • change in relationships due to personal feelings. There are manifestation of other symptoms such as antisocial behavior
  • hyperactivity
  • impulsivity 
  • Sometimes, there can be severe symptoms like
  • Akinesia
  • Speaking difficulties 
  • Amnesia (retrograde or anterograde) 


Complications with TBI: 

TBI complications depend on the symptoms and severity of the condition. The complications can arise immediately after the event, during the recovery period or even after the recovery. 

Traumatic brain injury is different for different survivors. Everyone experiences different symptoms depending on the area impacted and damaged.

Most commonly, individuals suffer from impaired movement, and cognitive decline. At times, the complications can be serious and life threatening. 

Some of the complications that survivors can undergo are following: 


The meninges are the most protective layer of the brain.

During a head injury, the blow to the skull can tear off meninges leading the bacteria an easy entry into our brain. This leads to development of infections such as meningitis.

If left untreated, it can spread to the rest of the organs and can cause multisystem organ failure too. Prophylaxis against the infections should be done immediately when TBI is suspected. 


Pressure ulcers 

After sustaining a head injury, some patients can become comatose or sometimes they need bed rest for quite a while for their injuries to heal.

While undergoing this healing process, lying on bed consistently for long periods can give rise to pressure ulcers. They occur due to factors like immobility, friction, pressure, or infection. 

Pressure ulcers are also called bed sores that are localized to the injury site and develop over a bony area. Most physicians therefore prefer water beds for such patients.

They are also advised to change their position constantly. 



This is an infection in lungs in which air sacs get filled with pus or fluid.

This causes symptoms like fever, chills, productive cough, or dyspnea. Most individuals who need a ventilator facility are more prone to developing pneumonia. 



Sepsis is the most common and dangerous complication of TBI. There are chemicals that are released into bloodstreams leading to inflammation.

This can develop to multi system organ failure within a narrow window frame. It causes symptoms like fever, low breathing rate, and in severe cases  confusion. 



Tension and cluster headaches are very common after a traumatic brain injury. It is mostly the first symptom and complication after a head injury.

To rule out hematoma or hemorrhage, imaging studies are done. These headaches can sometimes last for weeks even after no serious injury inside the brain. 



Dizziness and vertigo is when the room is spinning and can be due to ear issues or trauma to the ears. It can even be caused by damage to an area of the brain, or side effects of medications prescribed. 



If there was an injury to the temporal lobe after a TBI, the individual will get seizures due to disrupted electrical waves inside the brain.

This is characterized by sudden loss of consciousness, jerky movements, face twitching, and lip smacking. Recurrent seizure after TBI is called post-traumatic epilepsy.


Bladder/bowel dysfunction

After a TBI, it is common to lose bladder and bowel function that leads to urinary or fecal incontinence or constipation. 



After TBI, sometimes there is cerebrospinal fluid buildup in the brain that causes swelling and increased pressure inside the brain. This causes symptoms like nausea, gait disturbances, vomiting, confusion, and headaches.

The long term complications of head injury are as follows, 

Deep vein thrombosis

The TBI can cause immobility in some individuals and that makes them vulnerable to develop DVT, that causes formation of clots in veins of the legs.

If a portion of the clot breaks off and travels to heart or lungs, it is called pulmonary embolism. This condition can cause immediate death if not treated.



If the trauma to the head is grievous and theGCS score is down to less than 10, there’s a risk the individual will be comatose or will fall in coma.

The individual in a vegetative state may respond, speak slurred words, and make random movements. While in coma, the patient is unconscious, sometimes with brain death.

The survivors can come from coma within a few days or weeks or they might never come back if they are on a ventilator with brain death. 

Sometimes, athletes and boxers undergoing constant trauma due to repeated blows to the head develop dementia pugilistica or boxer’s dementia.

It manifests with dementia symptoms but there are no other movements or cognitive difficulties.

When there are injuries to multiple organs it leads to various system failure such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or respiratory. 


Dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury 

People with mild to moderate TBI symptoms might need minimal treatment depending on the symptoms and GCS scale.

For majorly severe symptoms, like with hemorrhage, hematoma, or diffuse axonal injury the individuals might need surgery to relieve pressure or control the bleeding in the brain. 

Surviving Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury might be hard on some people, so they might need counseling or therapy for the post traumatic symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, or fear of the unknown. 

People who have had major trauma to heads and suffered nerve or artery tear might have mild immobility issues or temporary paralysis.

These individuals would need strong physical and rehabilitation therapy. At times, if the symptoms include disturbances in speech, they might need speech therapy. 

Taking a proper amount of rest after TBI is quite vital for the best recovery. The traumatic brain injury treatment should focus on how to rejuvenate the person as they were before the event.

It’s important for their recovery period to be stress free and targeted on improving their physical and mental health.

For the best Neuropsychiatric illness treatment in Patna, Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh is the most appropriate choice for the required care of TBI survivors.

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