The Long-term Consequences of Brain Injury

brain injury

During life, many people experience head trauma or injury. These can range on a spectrum from mild to severe. Long-term, life-altering consequences after facing a brain injury are frequent. Vehicular accidents, sports injuries, and simple falls are some of the possible causes of brain injury. One should consider the proper care and treatment to minimize symptoms and reduce risks.

Physical Consequences

In the most severe cases, a patient may be in a comatose state. While it is possible to recover from such a state, it is a long and difficult process. Long-term issues arise when patients remain in vegetative or reduced states of consciousness. Injury to areas of the brain stem can cause these reduced states of consciousness. . Recovery depends on many factors, including the patient’s age, previous health status, and how much damage has been done to the brain. Long lasting symptoms can lead to permanent life changes.

Physical symptoms of a brain injury can appear less severe. These may seem to have a quick recovery, but in actuality, many last much longer. The part of the brain injured affects the types of problems one might have. For example, an injury to the left side of the head results in paralysis, weakness, or spasticity of the right side of the body. Weakness hinders general movements, so a person may move more slowly or be unable to engage in some activities. Additionally, sensory issues, such as vision loss or sensitivity to touch, cause many problems.

Emotional and Behavioral Consequences

Emotional and behavioral changes can be subtle or very exaggerated. Changes vary with each individual and the severity of their injury. These types of symptoms can be hard to diagnose. Nonetheless, they have long-term effects that change a patient’s life dramatically. 

Emotional changes can include differences in personality or mood, depression, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Patients with brain injury often present with new personalities. Moreover, a person can seem happy and then, only moments later, very sad or angry, and brain trauma is a cause of this. 

Disinhibition, irritability, obsessiveness, aggression, or apathy are some behavioral changes that can occur. For example, a patient who exhibits disinhibitions may walk in front of a moving car without fear. Or apathy can cause a person to simply not care about anything. 

Cognitive, Communication, and Memory Consequences

Thinking and expression are often different after brain injury. For example, poor information processing can cause misunderstandings. People may have reduced reasoning abilities and little motivation. All these symptoms can be short or long-term issues.

Also affected are memory and perception. Memory loss can range anywhere from mild forgetfulness to total amnesia. The world may seem very strange to a person with brain injury due to differences in perceptions. 

Self-expression through language can also become difficult. Some may not be able to speak at all. Others find challenges in getting the right words. Physical issues can prevent proper articulation or cause slow speech or stuttering.


In sum, brain injuries are not something that one should ignore. Take all precautions to prevent brain injuries in the first place. Wearing bike and protective sports helmets is essential. Seek proper medical treatment and appropriate therapies if a head injury does occur.