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Traumatic Brain Injury... The Silent Epidemic
© 2004, Mary Anne Lessley

Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is sometimes referred to as the silent epidemic, and for good reason. "Traumatic Brain Injury" seldom is a diagnosis after an impact to the head, especially if the impact does not result in a physical disfigurement. Only after months—sometimes years—of frustration and feelings of inadequacy, does it become apparent to the victim that he or she can no longer function as efficiently as before the accident.

We all have our moments, but continued feelings of confusion for no apparent reason, accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, indicate reason to seek medical help in determining a cause:

  • "Things are just not right" thoughts that surface frequently.
  • Continuing to think that it is your fault that you cannot keep your personal and career life organized and in proper perspective.
  • Feeling disorganized for no apparent reason, possibly exhibiting moments or even days of confusion and/or becoming partially to totally immobilized in organizing papers and documents that previously were not a problem.
  • Unable to set realistic goals, plan, prioritize, schedule, complete activities and projects in a timely manner.
  • Struggling to initiate, pace, task, stay focused, possibly creating conflicts with others in your personal and/or career life.
  • Unable to initiate seemingly uncomplicated tasks for which you had made a previous commitment.

It is also possible to experience one or more symptoms, yet never have a reason to suspect a physiological reason.

  • If related to past trauma, It might have been a seemingly insignificant accident, possibly experienced during childhood years, or even as an adult: a whip lash suffered in an auto accident; a fall against a solid object such as a piece of furniture, cement, the floor near a bunk bed; a thrust to the floor, ground, snow, or ice while engaged in a sports activity.

If this is your situation, again it is important to seek medical help in determining a reason for your executive functioning challenges. Ask questions; research possibilities, and pursue a medical diagnosis from a professional who is extremely knowledgeable about the potential effects of a closed, traumatic brain injury. An unrelated physiological explanation might include Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Serious research on closed, traumatic brain injury began in the early 1970's. Progressing tremendously in the past seven years, great advances have been made in the cognitive, physical, and emotional rehabilitation of individuals affected by traumatic brain injury. Still, much education is needed about this silent epidemic in which someone in the United States sustains a traumatic brain injury every 15 seconds, not all of whom will fully recover.

To learn more, read the other TBI-related Articles, Tips, and Resources on this site.
Included are:

  • Articles written by/for TBI survivors, family members, professionals.
  • Tips implemented by/for TBI clients, other survivors, and family members that have successfully solved executive functioning challenges related to organizing issues.
  • Resources include a variety of possibilities, including links to sites that provide related services to TBI survivors, education, and information that will be helpful in your search and research—whether you are a survivor, family member or supporter of victims of traumatic brain injury.

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