Spreading Awareness About Traumatic Brain Injuries
What do you know about traumatic brain injuries or TBIs? When it comes to spreading awareness, our focus isn’t so much injuries themselves, but rather the lingering effects. It seems like the more we learn sometimes, the more confusion we have about a subject—and this is no exception. What we, in the professional sense, deem traumatic may actually be caused by a mild injury or concussion. It all depends on what damages occurs to the brain, which is much more difficult to judge (even for doctors). In honor of National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month this March, we’ll share more of what we know on this topic.
The Hidden Disability
Traumatic brain injuries often go by this name because of the damage caused to this essential organ. It’s typically sudden and caused by an external force, but the symptoms associated with this condition don’t always appear immediately. Most of us know the common signs and side effects associated with concussions. Headaches, dizziness, and even nausea can occur. What about mild concussions, though? Those so small and seemingly insignificant that you have no apparent symptoms?
Even minor concussions are considered traumatic brain injuries and may cause lingering effects connected to mental health. Anxiety, depression, and mood swings are all more prevalent among individuals who have experienced one or more TBIs in their lifetime. However, it’s difficult to diagnose. Apart from the time that tends to separate the injuries from these symptoms, providers often faced overlapping diagnoses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Earning TBIs the title of a “hidden disability” or “invisible illness.”
Cause & Effect
Although we understand the physical circumstances that lead to a TBI, determining how this injury will affect an individual is much more complicated. The severity of the injury itself, the area(s) of the brain affected, and the individual’s original mental health all factor in. One person may experience a traumatic brain injury with limited symptoms, while another could face memory loss from something quite similar—at least on the surface. Others develop problems with attention and concentration linked to TBIs.
We’ve already talked a little bit about anxiety, but not necessarily what it means. In an effort to spread awareness, we want to go into a little more detail. We’re all familiar with anxiety and stress in some form. Whether that’s connected to work, school, social situations, etc. In a broader sense, though, this problem also affects your general satisfaction with life. Researchers have conducted numerous studies trying to figure out why individuals who suffered from even a mild TBI are more likely to report lower levels of life satisfaction long term. While they’ve been unable to isolate the underlying cause, their findings point to a growing need for support among this population.
Moving Forward with Traumatic Brain Injuries
So what can we do to help? At Focal Points Therapy, we have a unique approach to TBIs. Rather than working through traditional methods, such as medication and/or therapy, we specialize in newer techniques, including neurofeedback and biofeedback. If you’re not familiar with either of these terms, they’re basically tools that allow you to become more aware of your physiological response(s) to certain situations. Then, we teach you how to alter these reactions, so you can better control your mental health symptoms and/or overall performance.
We’ve seen individuals struggling with stress, anxiety, even attention-deficit/hyperactivity order achieve success through a combination of technological and professional support. Since many of these same symptoms can occur after a traumatic brain injury, it’s no wonder TBI patients have had great experiences with neurofeedback and/or biofeedback in recent years. One of the primary benefits, apart from being a nonpharmacological option, is the longevity of this treatment.
Ultimately, these techniques are about you. If done correctly, you’ll learn exactly what you need to manage these adverse reactions. Whether you’re at home, at work, or in our office, you can practice strategies for recognizing triggers and psychologically overcoming them. Therefore, you can become more aware of the effects of your TBI and move forward with your life!
If you’re interested in learning more in honor of National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month this March, contact our office! We’re happy to speak with you individually or address a group/association with questions. Think of us as your local resource on multiple mental health topics, including TBIs, neurofeedback, and biofeedback!