A brain injury has life-changing effects on a person from the moment they suffer it. Initially, it will potentially be less serious than it can become, since swelling and changes in brain chemistry can take a few hours or days to completely settle. After this, patients begin the recovery phase. That’s why it’s so essential for people to seek medical care right away. Early intervention can reduce swelling and pressure on the brain. Reducing pressure and swelling can result in fewer symptoms and a less severe injury moving forward.
In the first several weeks following a brain injury, the brain chemistry will not be normal. The brain may still be swollen to a degree, and the individual’s eyes may not yet be open. In severe cases, the patient may not yet show signs of awareness. After this time of healing, the person is likely to awaken, first showing signs of life through opening their eyes and trying to respond to family, friends or medical providers. It’s at this point that you can begin to see how serious the injury is.
Is it normal to be confused or disoriented after a brain injury?
Yes. In fact, it’s expected that a patient may be disoriented or confused about where they are, who they are or what happened. Some other common symptoms include:
- Poor attention span
- Inconsistent behavior
On the whole, people must realize that the person is still recovering, especially within the first six months following an injury. It’s normal to see some inconsistencies in how the person acts or in their abilities until more time passes.
Remember, most of a person’s recovery will take place in the first six months, but ongoing recovery at a slower pace is normal from then up to two years after an accident. It’s possible to continue recovering after that point, but it’s likely to happen slowly.
In the long-term, all patients are affected differently. Some may recover nearly completely, while others continue to struggle moving forward. To determine what kind of long-term impacts are possible, a medical provider will need to take brain scans and perform regular checkups on the patient. A large portion of the potential recovery is also based on how much assistance your loved one receives after the initial injury and during the recovery process. Severe injuries are likely to leave some lasting effects, but everyone can hope to see some recovery.