Brain injuries have a few different ways that they can affect individuals. The way a brain injury appears has a lot to do with the part of the brain that has been injured.
It is common to see three main types of problems: cognitive, physical and emotional. These problems can be triggered by one another, making it very hard for patients to adjust.
To understand brain injuries, think about how the brain is designed. There are two hemispheres, the left and right. They must communicate with one another. On the left side, movement and sensation for the right side of the body is controlled. The opposite is true for the right brain.
The left side of the brain is also responsible for language, memory with words and thought, in most people. The right side of the brain is responsible primarily for nonverbal and intuitive functions.
Why does the side of the brain injured matter?
Part of how your body responds to a brain injury depends on the hemisphere that is harmed. If the left brain is injured, you might have physical symptoms on the right side. You could have trouble speaking or listening to others. If the right side of the brain is injured, then you may have more trouble with expressing emotions or piecing together visual information.
What else affects the symptoms of a brain injury?
Other than the side of the brain injured, there are also different segments of the brain. These include the:
- Brain stem
- Frontal lobe
- Occipital lobes
- Temporal lobes
- Parietal lobes
Each of these controls different functions. For instance, if you hit the back of your head, you could damage the occipital lobe. This could result in vision loss. Damage to the frontal lobe, in comparison, would lead to trouble with emotional responses or language. It could hurt your ability to solve problems or understand word associations.
The good news about physical problems caused by brain injuries is that many resolve with time. Usually, people with traumatic brain injuries can use their hands or walk within a year following the injury. There could be issues with balance or weakness, but overall, the physical damage typically resolves substantially.
Cognitive and emotional problems tend to take longer to resolve and may require ongoing medical care and support as the patient heals over the next several months and years. Many problems with cognition or behavior can be managed with support.