Types of Brain Injuries
The type of brain injury that is most common is a concussion. A concussion can range in severity from mild to severe; a more mild concussion will usually heal on its own with time and rest, whereas a more severe concussion requires emergency medical care. A concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head (e.g. a person falling and hitting their head), a gunshot, a whiplash injury, or violent shaking.
In addition to a concussion, the other types of brain injuries include:
- Contusion. A contusion brain injury means that there is bleeding of the brain. Usually the result of a direct impact to the head, a severe contusion may need to be removed via surgery.
- Acquired brain injury. An acquired brain injury refers to a brain injury that is acquired by something other than force, such as a stroke, a tumor, or anoxia (oxygen deprivation). This type of brain injury may occur because of a defective pharmaceutical that leads to stoke, a drowning incident, or even a birth injury.
- Penetration. As its name implies, a penetration brain injury refers to a situation in which the brain is actually penetrated by an object. If a person is assaulted with a weapon, such as a knife, the blade may actually penetrate the brain and cause a devastating injury.
- Diffuse-axonal. Extensive tearing of nerve tissues throughout the brain, caused by rotational forces or severe shaking, is referred to as a diffuse axonal injury. This type of injury can occur when an individual is in a car accident, and may lead to permanent brain damage, coma, or death.
- Coup-contrecoup. When contusions occur at the point of impact (i.e. the side of the brain where the person who fell made contact with the ground), and the complete opposite side of the brain, a coup-contrecoup injury occurs. This happens when the force that struck the initial side of the brain is so great that it causes brain to slam into the skull at the opposing side.
WHY ARE BRAIN INJURIES SO DEVASTATING?
The brain is not only the most important organ in the body, but also one of the most delicate. When the brain is impacted, the effects can range from the physical to the emotional.
Some of the repercussions of a brain injury are obvious; coma, brain death, a vegetative state, and a minimally conscious state are all possible, and are all terrible to think about. But the less-obvious effects of a brain injury are also awful. For example, a brain injury may leave a person able to function fully, but unable to perform the same cognitive tasks that they once did with ease (imagine a math teacher who is no longer able to recall mathematical formulas). Or, a brain injury can completely alter the emotional state of an individual – consider a happy, loving father who is in a car accident, and now suffers from depression, anxiety, and angry outbursts as a direct result of a brain injury. These symptoms of brain injuries can not only impair a person’s relationship with their friends and family members, but also result in an impaired quality of life, the risk of unemployment, the necessity of dangerous prescription drugs, and more.