Traumatic Brain Damage

Article published on 1st June 2008

Brain damage, however it happens, is essentially the destruction and/or degeneration of brain cells. The brain can be damaged through all sorts of reasons, ranging from illnesses, alcohol abuse and poisoning, to strokes, traumatic injuries and ‘iatrogenesis’, which is any adverse or physical condition brought about in a patient due to treatment by a physician or surgeon.

Although injuring the brain does not necessarily cause long-term disability, the location and extent of the damage in question are both significant factors in whether there will be any persistent or debilitating symptoms. In the most serious cases, brain damage can result in permanent physical and/or mental disabilities, including lethargy, persistent headaches, seizures, personality changes, sexual dysfunction, depression, impaired motor or speech functions, cognitive and reasoning difficulties, delusions and psychotic symptoms or mental handicap. Very severe brain damage can result in a patient going into a coma, a persistent vegetative state or even dying.

There are all sorts of therapies open to people with brain damage, ranging from chemical treatments, to psychotherapy and other more exotic methods. In many cases of mild brain damage the key to recovery is time and persistence, and of course the relevant medical care and coaching that may be needed. In some more severe cases live-in care is recommended for the patient, if not hospitalisation. Fortunately, mental healthcare is readily available within the UK and is of a reasonably high standard.

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