Concussions are one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury or TBI, and children and teens are at particular risk. Because children and teens are likely to be involved in high-risk activities such as sports, riding ATVs or being involved in car crashes, it is important to understand the totality of the impact of a concussion on young, developing brains.
A recent series of studies suggest a link between concussions in children and teenagers and the subsequent risk of developing mental health problems later in life. According to a compilation of these studies, about 30 percent of children or teens who suffer a concussion will experience symptoms for longer than one month, many of which are linked to mental health issues.
Concussion Symptoms: Physical and Mental
Concussion symptoms, both short-term and long-term, can be categorized as either physical or mental in nature. Among these symptoms are:
- Physical symptoms. Physical symptoms of concussions include pain, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and/or hearing loss, and other sensory issues. Physical symptoms are usually the first to disappear, although in some cases they can last longer than a few days. When this happens, parents should immediately inform their doctor so that the child can be examined for more serious brain injuries.
- Mental issues. Long after the physical symptoms of a concussion have disappeared, the mental symptoms may remain. Mental health issues such as loss of memory, sleep deprivation, anxiety, neurosis, and self-harm, as well as other, more serious, disorders.
The recent group of studies examined pediatric concussions occurring in patients aged five to 18 years. The studies tracked these patients from the time of their initial treatment to becoming adults. Participants in the study who had concussions as children showed an increased risk of developing mental health issues when compared with a non-TBI group that sustained only orthopedic injuries.
Increased Risk Means Increase Cost
Because there may be an increased risk of developing mental health problems after sustaining a TBI, it is important for victims and their families to understand the increased costs associated with these issues. Mental health symptoms can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from finding and retaining a job to forming positive relationships. Further, a concussion’s long-term effects may be responsible for behavior that could lead to other health problems, such as using drugs or alcohol. This is particularly true for patients who have sustained painful injuries that are difficult to treat without addictive drugs.
If your child has sustained a traumatic brain injury, including a concussion, it is important to get the facts about the injury and a correct prognosis on further medical treatment. In order to pay for the best care, you may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. At Barber & Associates, we have been working with the victims of TBI for decades and understand how to recover compensation for every aspect of the injury. Give us a call today to find out how we can help your child recover and live a full, productive life.