Irene’s Brain Injury Dictionary

When the brain breaks, an uncountable number of things can change the injured person physically, cognitively and emotionally. I already mentioned that I experience Tinnitus, Xerostomia, Xerophtalmia, Strabismus and Hemiplegia. Here follows a very brief dictionary of some of the other side-effects I experienced because to my traumatic brain injury (TBI).

General terms

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain.

Glasgow Coma scale (GCS) is a neurological scale that aims to give a reliable, objective way of recording the level of consciousness of a person after a brain injury. It is also used to assess the severity of the TBI and of the brain damage that tails it.

Fatigue is quite common after a TBI. It is a subjective feeling of tiredness which is distinct from weakness, and has a gradual onset. Unlike weakness, fatigue can be alleviated by periods of rest.

Post Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) is a state of confusion that occurs immediately following a traumatic brain injury in which the brain injured person is disoriented and unable to remember events that occur after the injury. Hallucinations may also occur.

If a person’s balance is affected…

Ataxia usually occurs because of hemiplegia. It is the lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements and a person, who has it, walks with sluggish, spastic movements.

If a person’s emotions, logic or inhibitions are affected…

Disinhibition is a common consequence after a TBI. The injured person may show a lack of restraint manifested in several ways, including disregard for social conventions, impulsivity, extreme curiosity and poor risk assessment. I have no filters and blurt out what ever pops into my head, whether it is appropriate or not.

Hypersexuality, hyperphagia, and aggressive outbursts are indicative of disinhibited instinctual drives. Hypersexuality is extremely frequent or suddenly increased sexual urges or sexual activity. Hyperphagia refers to excessive hunger or increased appetite. Aggressive outbursts may occur because the patient has difficulty controlling their temper. The patient may portray irritability and even hostility

• The Blunted Affect is the scientific term describing a lack of emotional reactivity on the part of an individual who suffered a TBI. They are unable to feel or experience some emotions intensely. It is manifest as a failure to express feelings either verbally or non-verbally, especially when talking about issues that would normally be expected to engage the emotions. It can be permanent or temporary. No one can determine whether a brain injured person will recover from The Blunted Affect. Just after I sustained a TBI, I was unemotional and detached from my family. Again, luckily for me, I recovered after nearly a year.

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” John Wooden


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