Major Signs Of A Traumatic Brain Injury

August 24, 2023

The brain controls everything about your mental and physical well-being. When your brain is injured, you could lose control over any number of bodily functions and mental capacity. If you or someone you know has sustained a blow to the head, it's possible a traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been inflicted. Even blows that seem non-damaging can cause irreparable harm. It's vital for you to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Sensory Issues

Sensory issues, such as blurred vision are common. When an individual experiences sensory issues, they are not interpreting the world around them in the correct way. A person with sensory problems might have trouble understanding touch, temperature, and limb position. One of the most common tests for this is for an individual to try to touch their nose with their fingertip. Another key sensory issue and sign of a traumatic brain injury is blurred vision. It's common for individuals to experience a partial or even complete loss of vision. Blurred vision is often caused by the weakening of the eye muscles, which causes double vision. Individuals might experience problems with their depth perception, difficulty judging distance, or involuntary eye movements when dealing with this traumatic brain injury symptom. The final vision-related symptom is an intolerance to light. Light will be extremely painful to these patients, to the point they cannot cope with it at all.

Continue reading to learn about a way in which a traumatic brain injury impacts hearing.


It's common to experience hearing issues when suffering from a traumatic brain injury as well. Tinnitus is a constant ringing sound in the ears, and along with the ringing, it's common for individuals to experience a decrease in their hearing or to lose their hearing altogether. Frequently, they don't realize they are losing their hearing and simply believe the ringing is drowning out all other sounds. When an individual suffers a traumatic brain injury, it's also common for them to have increased sensitivity to noise. They might not be able to tolerate sounds they never had a problem with in the past.

Tinnitus is often associated with loud noises. Individuals involved in explosions or returning from concerts report ringing in the ears. But if the ringing is not related to a loud sound, and the ringing began after a head injury, it could be a serious sign an individual has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Continue reading to reveal the role of bad taste.

Bad Taste In The Mouth

Some individuals with a traumatic brain injury have a diminished sense of taste, or they lose their ability to taste food altogether. All of these sensory-related symptoms might occur in conjunction with each other as well. Patients might lose their hearing and taste, or their sight and hearing. If an individual experiencing problems with multiple base senses at one time, this is a sign they have suffered a particularly severe traumatic brain injury and need medical intervention as soon as possible. Another potential symptom is a bad taste in the mouth. In particular, if foods are not tasting the way they usually do, or if an individual feels their sense of taste is 'off,' it is important to consult a medical professional.

Continue reading to learn about the next symptom of a traumatic brain injury now.

Loss Of Consciousness

If an individual loses consciousness, this is a sign they have suffered a major TBI. Traumatic brain injuries have a range, from mild trauma to severe injuries. If an individual loses consciousness for between twenty minutes and six hours, their traumatic brain injury will be classified as a moderate brain injury. If an individual loses consciousness for longer than six hours and has a score on the Glasgow Coma Scale between three and eight, they have suffered a severe brain injury. If they lose consciousness for less than twenty minutes, they may have suffered a mild injury. It's important to note, however, any loss of consciousness following head trauma is a sign medical intervention must be performed immediately. If an individual doesn't regain consciousness within a few seconds, their life could be in danger.

Continue reading to learn about the sign of a traumatic brain injury related to speech.

Speech Problems

Traumatic brain injuries often cause speech problems. Individuals might have difficulty understanding the words being spoken to them, a condition called receptive aphasia. Patients might also have difficulty expressing themselves and being understood by others, called expressive aphasia. They might experience slurred speech. It's also possible they will speak very slowly, with long pauses between words. Alternatively, they might speak much more quickly than they usually do. Any of these symptoms is a sign an individual has suffered a cognitive impairment following a head injury. In the recovery process after a traumatic brain injury, individuals may continue to have trouble with speech, along with reading and writing, as these are controlled by the same language center in the brain.

Continue reading to learn how nausea or vomiting can indicate a traumatic brain injury has occurred.

Nausea Or Vomiting

Nausea or vomiting is most often associated with mild traumatic brain injuries, but it can be a sign of a more moderate or severe injury as well. Mild traumatic brain injuries, also called concussions, are the most prevalent. Even though they are very common, they should still be taken seriously. Individuals often miss them after the immediate injury. If someone has a head injury and subsequently begins to vomit or feel nauseous, they should be evaluated for a concussion. It's possible the onset of symptoms will not occur immediately following the injury, but rather take several days or even weeks for nausea to manifest. For this reason, they should pay attention to all physical symptoms for several weeks.

Continue reading to learn about headaches as a symptom next.


A traumatic brain injury does not always present with immediate symptoms, especially in mild cases. With mild traumatic brain injuries, especially an injury not involving a loss of consciousness, it's common for individuals to brush themselves off and believe they're fine. But they may experience symptoms in the following days and weeks after the injury. Headaches are particularly common. Increased light sensitivity might exacerbate a headache, and in some cases, headaches can lead to seizures. They can also worsen an individual's concentration and cause sleep disturbances. Patients experiencing these symptoms should be evaluated for a traumatic brain injury.

Next, find out how a TBI can cause chronic fatigue for most patients.

Fatigue Or Drowsiness

Generally speaking, patients who experience fatigue, drowsiness, or are more sleepy than usual after suffering a traumatic brain injury, and this type of fatigue is described as a sense of mental or physical tiredness, exhaustion, a lack of energy, and low vitality. Physical and cognitive fatigue can occur separately or together, however, most patients tend to experience the mental side of fatigue after a traumatic brain injury.

Many patients notice they are not as mentally sharp and focused as they used to be, as once easy mental tasks tend to be more difficult to complete, and often leave patients feeling far more drowsy and tired than before. These mental tasks can include reading, working, or studying. Fortunately, fatigue is usually a temporary symptom with most mild cases of TBI and will last no longer than three to six months. Approximately ten percent of individuals who experience a brain injury deal with fatigue and drowsiness, and is one of the most common issues post-injury.

Keep reading to understand how the opposite symptom occurs next.

Difficulty Sleeping

On the flip side of the coin, besides dealing with constant fatigue, many patients can develop sleeping disorders as a result of a traumatic brain injury. As one of the most common issues patients face after a traumatic brain injury, as sleeping disorders are three times more common in individuals with a brain injury compared to the general population. Unfortunately, studies also reveal sixty percent of patients with a traumatic brain injury experience long-term difficulties with sleep, with women being more likely to be affected than men. The most common sleep disorders include insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and narcolepsy. Sleep syndromes that can also occur associated with a traumatic brain injury include restless leg syndrome, bruxism, sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, and sleepwalking.

Next, discover how this classic sign of a traumatic brain injury occurs.

Dizziness Or Loss Of Balance

Approximately thirty to sixty-five percent of individuals report experiencing dizziness or disequilibrium, or a lack of balance while sitting or standing, after suffering a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of dizziness include lightheadedness, vertigo, and imbalance. The severity of the loss of balance or dizziness a patient experiences largely depends on how serious the brain injury is, what part of the brain is affected, and other injuries, such as fractures or a spinal injury. Certain medications used to treat a traumatic brain injury can also cause side effects, including dizziness and a lack of balance. Other causes of balance problems associated with a traumatic brain injury include postural hypotension or a drop in blood pressure, vision impairments, and inner ear problems.

Continue reading to learn more about how a TBI can affect the brain.

Memory Or Concentration Problems

After a traumatic brain injury, it is common for individuals to have certain problems associated with learning, memory, attention, concentration, speech and language, reasoning, planning, and problem-solving. Unfortunately, patients with a TBI may have difficulties focusing, paying attention, or multitasking, which can result in restlessness and becoming easily distracted. Furthermore, individuals with a traumatic brain injury may have difficulty learning and remembering new information and events, or may even have a hard time remembering things that occurred weeks or months before the injury. As a result of a lack of memory, the brain will try to fill in the gaps of the missing information and recall things that actually did not occur, resulting in false memories.

Reveal the emotional trauma a patient with a TBI can experience next.

Mood Swings

Some patients with a traumatic brain injury may have issues trying to control their emotions and may experience emotions very quickly and intensely, which are often temporary, resulting in a ‘mood swing.' An individual can also be happy one moment, then angry or sad the next moment, which is called emotional lability. Emotional lability is often caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls emotions and behavior, and often there are no specific events that can trigger these mood swings. In some cases, the brain injury can cause sudden emotional responses, such as crying or laughing, and may not relate to how the patient is truly feeling or match the situation they are dealing with, but rather they cannot control these emotional outbursts.

Finally, uncover the mental conditions a TBI can lead to.

Depression Or Anxiety

One of the most difficult issues a traumatic brain injury can cause is depression or anxiety, and it can be quite common years later for an individual to still be experiencing one or both. Recent studies have discovered more than sixty percent of patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury had psychiatric disorders, such as depression or anxiety, up to five and a half years after their initial injury. As a result of these recent findings, many medical professionals recommend that patients with a TBI should be screened for psychiatric disorders multiple times post-injury, so proper treatment and therapies can be administered as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression following a brain injury is relatively normal, as it is a life-changing event, and unfortunately, stress and anxiety can not only lead to depression but also restlessness, sleeplessness, difficulty concentrating and completing tasks, as well as social issues. Anxiety and depression can cause symptoms such as mood swings, hopelessness and sadness, shortness of breath, and feelings of panic and despair.

Read more about the warning signs of a traumatic brain injury now.

Inability To Remember The Cause Of Injury

One concerning symptom of a traumatic brain injury is an inability to remember the cause of injury. If the patient can't remember how their head became injured or what they were doing prior to the accident, it's a sign their brain's memory function has become seriously affected. Memory problems commonly occur when individuals suffer a severe or moderate TBI. A traumatic brain injury can cause damage to portions of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Short-term memory tends to be affected more than long-term processing. The cause of an injury tends to be part of short-term memory. Meanwhile, things like language and remembering a name or basic information tend to be long-term memory, so these things are less likely to be affected.

Uncover details on more traumatic brain injury symptoms now.

Seizures Or Convulsions

If an individual experiences seizures or convulsions after a blow to the head or other head injury, it's important for them to seek medical care right away. Seizures and convulsions can occur after a traumatic brain injury. The majority of individuals who experience a TBI don't have seizures, but they are a possibility. If seizures occur alongside a traumatic brain injury, they tend to happen within the first days or weeks following the injury. In rare cases, seizures might develop years or months following the injury. Seizures occur in about ten percent of those who suffer a brain injury serious enough to require hospitalization. They're usually related to scarring in the brain that occurs because of the injury. Seizures lead to strange movements of the muscles, fumbling movements, staring and unresponsiveness, strange sensory experiences, or a lack of ability to understand others and speak.

Learn more about the major indicators of a traumatic brain injury now.

Dilated Pupils

A traumatic brain injury can cause dilated pupils, which are pupils that have become larger in size than normal. The size of an individual's pupils changes naturally depending on the amount of light in a room. In bright rooms, the pupils shrink, while they open to let in more light in dark rooms. When the pupils are dilated, though, they tend to be opened even in bright conditions. If an individual's pupils are dilated after a head injury, it may be a sign a traumatic brain injury has occurred. Sometimes dilated pupils will react to light by growing or shrinking, but they don't tend to have a proportional response to light. If the pupil is totally unresponsive to changing light sources, it's referred to as a fixed pupil.

Read more information about symptoms linked to traumatic brain injuries now.

Clear Fluid Drainage

Clear fluid drainage following a head injury is cause for serious concern. This fluid is often cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that cushions the brain and spinal cord and keeps the brain from sagging in the skull. CSF leakage is a common complication of a traumatic brain injury. Because cerebrospinal fluid leaks can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences, it's vital for the condition to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. In cases where the base of the skull fractures, it's estimated that between ten and thirty percent of patients experience a traumatic CSF leak. Over half of these cases happen within two days following the injury, and the rest tend to occur within a three-month period after the injury.

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