Brain injuries are devastating to individuals because of their lasting impact. Even if the injury takes only a few weeks to heal, it could mean that the individual falls behind on bills, misses important events or has other issues in his or her life. Medical bills pile up, and there is always the possibility of a second head injury causing even more harm because of previous injuries.
A traumatic brain injury can do various things to a person, depending on the part of the brain that was injured. For instance, the cerebellum controls balance, muscle movements and posture, while the brainstem controls automatic functions like a person's sleep and wake cycles or sneezing.
What happens if the brain is damaged?
It depends on the individual patient and part of the brain that was injured. For example, if the frontal lobe suffers damage, the person could have a change in his or her personality. It could lead to poor problem solving abilities or trouble speaking or writing. Self-awareness and intelligence could also suffer as a result of an injury to the frontal lobe.
On the other hand, if someone suffers an injury to the occipital lobe, the way the body interprets light, color and movement changes. It's possible to lose vision completely.
Parietal lobe injuries result in problems with the interpretation of senses like touch, temperature and pain. Some people with underdeveloped parietal lobes or injuries to the parietal lobes may not feel pain or could feel pain when nothing is happening to cause it.
Even deeper in the brain are structures such as the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. The pituitary gland controls all the endocrine glands in the body, helps the body respond to stress, and promotes bone and muscle growth. The hypothalamus controls the body's temperature and emotions.
With so many different areas of the brain that control different parts of personality and functionality, it's impossible to know how someone will change due to an injury. A quick response and efficient treatment is necessary to help a patient recover.