Having a brain injury can completely change a person's life. Whether it's from an automobile collision, sports injury, stroke, concussion, brain tumor or aneurysm, the recovery process for brain injury takes time and determination.
"One of the frustrating things about a brain injury is that the person may look okay, but they're not okay," says James A. Young, MD, medical director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. "Functionally speaking they may feel as disabled as someone who's lost both legs, but to the casual observer they look fine.
Some common disabilities after a brain injury include problems with:
- Thinking, memory and reasoning
- Sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell
- Communication (expressing and understanding)
- Behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out and social inappropriateness)
- Motor skills (walking, moving limbs, etc.)
A brain injury affects all the relationships in your life, including your relationships with your family and at work — it even affects your relationship with yourself. "This type of injury can really change the way a person's personality expresses itself," says Young. "There are changes in how people with brain injuries perceive themselves and how they are perceived by others. Often the spouse of an injured person will feel like the patient is not the person they married.
"I wish I could say that recovery only depended on the individual's motivation, unfortunately, it's not that simple," Young continues. "One thing to remember is that brain injury usually has some lasting consequences. It takes patience on the part of family and friends."
Rebounding From Injury
Professionals at Rush use a team approach to address the needs of the person with a brain injury. "We try to minimize barriers a person might have to recovery, while giving them the best care possible," Young says.
Who's on the team:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech/language therapy
- Physiatry (physical medicine)
- Social support services
Support for the Family
"At Rush, we have support groups for those rehabilitating themselves after a brain injury and we also have a support group for the family members caring for someone with a brain injury," says Young. "Many of these caregivers have similar experiences and are able to provide information and much needed emotional support."
To find out more about this and other support groups at Rush, visit the Support Groups home page.
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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.
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