LIVING WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Many soldiers serving in the military today are experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI) as result of trauma from a nearby blast or explosion. TBI can cause changes in a person’s ability to think, control emotions, walk, or speak, and can also affect sense of sight or hearing.
Physical effects may include: headaches, difficulty speaking, blurry eyesight, loss of hearing, fatigue, changes in sense of taste or smell, or dizziness.
Cognitive effects may include: problems concentrating and paying attention, forgetfulness, or difficulty making decisions.
Behavioral effects may include: anger issues, frustration, and acting without thinking.
Symptoms may vary, and sometimes change as recovery takes place. At times, the effects may be immediately evident; other times soldiers may not realize the extent of the damage that has occurred.
If left untreated, the effects of TBI can have a very negative effect on the person’s life, and on relationships with others. Ignoring symptoms may actually make the symptoms worse.
Some things you can do to cope with TBI:
• Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
• Write things down if you have trouble remembering
• Develop and maintain a regular, daily routine
• Avoid alcohol
• Avoid caffeine, cold medications, or other products that contain pseudoephedrine—they may increase symptoms
• Recognize triggers—keep a record to help identify situations that are more likely to worsen symptoms
• Find alternate things to do such as a hobby or a recreational activity
• Talk to others—to prevent isolation
• Remember that symptoms are a normal part of the recovery, and they will get better.

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