TBI Part 2: Cognitive Effects of Brain Injury

Last week, we discussed some of the common causes of traumatic brain injury. We’re continuing the series this week with a look at the three major categories of complications that TBI can cause. This week, we’ll discuss the myriad cognitive effects of TBI.

Cognition is defined as knowing, or thinking. There are many different mental skills that feed into the umbrella of cognition: memory, communication, attention, problem-solving, etc. TBI can disrupt any of these elements of cognition to the detriment of the sufferer.

  • Language and communication. Brain injury can make it difficult for the sufferer to process communicative skills. Common manifestations of this TBI symptom include having trouble coming up with the right words to say, trouble organizing thoughts or words and having trouble following or staying on topic during conversation.
  • Inappropriate or impulsive behavior. TBI can cause the sufferer to lash out irrationally due to problems with self-control. This can include things like losing one’s temper easily or failing to follow social cues.
  • Planning and organization. TBI sufferers will sometimes require help keeping their schedules organized. They may also require assistance doing tasks that require steps in a certain order, like cooking.
  • Problems processing and understanding information. The TBI sufferer may require additional time to understand what another person is saying or to follow instructions properly. Reading and understanding information can likewise take some time. Reaction time may also be affected, which can make it difficult to do things like drive a car safely.

This list of cognitive effects of TBI is by no means exhaustive, but covers some of the most common problems.



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