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Traumatic brain injuries can affect mood, cognitive function

Traumatic brain injuries affect millions of people in Montana and around the country each year, leading to a range of behavioral and cognitive issues. Around 2.5 million people experienced a traumatic brain injury in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They also contribute to injury-related deaths in around one in three people. These injuries don't just happen to athletes, and can result from something as simple as a bump or blow to the head.

These injuries can be mild to severe in nature, but even the mild ones can be a contributing factor to disability or death. Concussions, amnesia and loss of consciousness can all be associated with a traumatic brain injury. The age groups most at risk include young child below age 4, teenagers aged 15 to 19, and older adults above the age of 65. But people of all ages can suffer a range of symptoms resulting from this type of injury, from emotional to neuropsychological disturbances.

People who've experienced a traumatic brain injury may have mood swings or extreme emotional reactions that confuse and frighten those around them. Around one-fourth of patients suffer from major depression. Difficulty sleeping, fatigue, apathy and even suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. Although medication can assist some people with a more stable emotional state, many people are never able to recover intellectual or physical abilities they had before the injury. Any of these changes not only could reduce the quality of life of the injured person but might also create challenges for loved ones.

If a traumatic brain injury occurs because of the negligent act or omission of another, the victim might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. A personal injury attorney could help people affected by traumatic brain injuries receive the financial assistance they are owed.

Source: Everyday Health, "Traumatic Brain Injury: Not Just a Problem for Athletes", May 28, 2014

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