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badge2Symptoms of brain injury can range from loss of consciousness and coma to changes in physical, cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral abilities and skills. The range and severity of symptoms are different for each person as each brain injury is unique.

These blog articles discuss the variety of symptoms from the persepctive of clinicians, survivors and families. They give readers a broader understanding of the complexity of brain injury symptoms and their consequences for a meaningful life.

I Felt a Cleaving in My Mind

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The worst experience in my personal health, one that has been ongoing is living with migraine. I had encephalitis 20 years ago, and it left me with symptoms of stroke, that took about a year to heal. But the migraines continue.

However, brain injury and the loss of those very precious memories and thoughts, one after the other, is hard. I find myself saying to Bill, “Don’t you remember, we talked about this last night?” Then I remind myself not to use that phrase because he cannot remember. His memory for many things has and continues to improve over the years. But I think the sadness of working so hard, and not seeing the results he is working toward is very difficult for him and others living with brain injury.

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Executive Function Deficits in Children and Youth with Brain Injury

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A brain injury can affect executive functions in children – but what does this mean? Katherine Kimes explains that the frontal lobes of the brain are responsible for high level cognitive functions – commonly called executive skills. These skills include planning, information processing, memory, judgment, initiation, abstraction, emotional regulation, inattentiveness, and self-awareness. When these skills are affected in youth, students can have new challenges in school, at home and with peers. It’s important for educators and parents to recognize that an earlier brain injury can have a direct impact on that child’s ability to learn and function in the classroom.

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Sense of Self after Brain Injury

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Not only did your life change after your brain injury, but your sense of self changes as well. What is this “sense of self” that everyone is talking about? It is that knowledge of what kind of person you are, how you feel and act, how you have developed over time, the roles you fill and the roles you play. Rather than seeing this change solely as a loss, your changing sense of self after a brain injury is an opportunity to design yourself all over again.

One thing that contributes to a positive sense of self is a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s learning to tie your shoes again or to learn a new language after your brain injury, it’s a lot of work but you will get better at it over time – and that is an accomplishment!

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Understanding Your Anger after Traumatic Brain Injury

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Family and caregivers often complain of a survivor’s anger after a traumatic brain injury. They say the person is hard to get along with and that affects their relationships. Mike Strand gives his view as a person with a brain injury that anger is about more than emotions and brain trauma. It’s also about communication and cognition. He talks about how he reacts when others accuse him of being angry and describes both his thought process and emotional reactions. This blog gives insights into what’s behind the behavior that is so easily termed “anger’ by caregivers and family members.

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Irritability and Aggression after Brain Injury

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Changes in a family member’s mood, emotions, and personality after a brain injury can be frustrating and puzzling for spouses, children and parents. But increased irritability and aggression after a brain injury can disrupt marriages, jeopardize employment, and increase conflicts and stress at home. Dr. Flora Hammond at Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana is conducting research that is giving a better understanding of irritability and aggression after brain injury and is developing more effective treatment with medication.

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Improving Your Memory after a Brain Injury

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Many survivors have changes in cognition after a traumatic brain injury. These cognitive changes often mean that thinking is simply harder and takes longer. These are the changes that so often greatly concern survivors and families. They can affect everything from making a shopping list to returning to work. Some cognitive changes are so minor or subtle that only the survivor or close family members are aware of them. Other changes are obvious and significantly affect the survivor’s daily life, relationships, ability to work or go to school. Cognitive challenges are a major factor in determining whether a survivor can live independently, must rely on family for support, or needs a residential program for assistance and supervision.

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Managing Your Stress and Anxiety after a Brain Injury

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A brain injury can cause intense stress and anxiety for survivors, family members and caregivers. It can feel overwhelming and make it difficult for you to simply get through the day. It can make it harder to think clearly, solve problems and plan ahead. By learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of your stress and anxiety, you can learn how to use techniques to lessen and manage stress and anxiety. This is the first step in regaining control as you rebuild your lives and begin the journey of living with brain injury.

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Tips on Memory Strategies for Daily Use at Home

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Barbara Webster, author of the tip card Memory Strategies after Brain Injury shares strategies and tips that can be used daily at home. Daily life can be complicated for anyone, but it can be even more complex and stressful if you have a memory impairment after a brain injury. By designing and using strategies that fit into your personal routine, you can develop a system that works for you and your lifestyle. It has to be practical, easy to use, and address your needs for it to work for you! That’s the bottom line…does it help you remember?

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Depression after a TBI

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It was Norman Vincent Peale who said, “Change your thoughts and you can change your world”. There is a positive thought for every negative thought. It can be true for anyone with a traumatic brain injury. If a person can change his thoughts about his illness and realize that what he thinks is not necessarily an absolute, he will maintain a healthy attitude. This will have a positive effect on possible healing.

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Where Did My Memory Go after My Brain Injury?

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Changes in her memory and speech after a traumatic brain injury were difficult losses for Bridgid Ruden. Formerly a busy nurse practitioner, she now found it hard to do even the simplest tasks and errands. Even caring for her children and managing the household were constant challenges and frustrations as she frequently lost items as well as words. So many losses changed her sense of self and were further compounded by seizures. Yet she has found a new purpose in life and is now a powerful advocate and speaker for the many voices of survivors.

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