Unconscious woman after brain surgery

Why Do Severe Brain Injuries Result in Unconsciousness?

Consciousness is a state of mind that refers to self-awareness. It’s what lets us think new thoughts and plan for the future based on past experiences. Consciousness is constantly shifting, but sustaining a severe brain injury can suddenly change conscious states from fully alert and aware to confusion and panic.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury or TBI is defined as an injury to the brain from an external force. Common causes include physical assault, vehicle collisions, sports injuries, and falls. Judgement on an individual’s condition is evaluated based on Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), with 15 being normal and three for more serious conditions such as comatose states.

Brain injuries are classified according to their severity:

  • Mild: Injuries that result in a brief loss of consciousness. The individual is awake with their eyes open but displays visible signs of disorientation.
  • Moderate: Injuries that result in a loss of consciousness from 20 minutes to six hours. Some brain swelling may occur, causing sleepiness or drowsiness.
  • Severe: Injuries that result in a loss of consciousness of more than six hours. The individual appears totally inert and eyes remain closed even with stimulation.

Why Do Brain Injuries Lead to Unconsciousness?

The reticular activating system (RAS) is one of the most important parts of the brain. It comprises a network of neurons that regulate wakefulness (a necessary condition for consciousness). Sudden trauma to the brain can cause the RAS to stop functioning properly, rendering a person incapable of becoming conscious even with stimulation.

Disorders of consciousness include coma, vegetative, and minimally conscious. Which state an individual is placed in largely depends on the type of injury sustained and the extent of any delayed trauma (known as a secondary injury).

Each case varies but sustaining a TBI can affect physical or cognitive abilities. Recovery is possible through intense rehabilitation and medical care, but the rate of improvement varies for each person.

If a loved one has sustained a serious brain injury, contact Mark Reynolds personal injury solicitors. We’ll help you determine if you have a compensation claim.

Caring for a loved one with brain injury

Coping With the Effects of Brain Injury on a Loved One

Traffic jams and difficult customers are minor stressors that many of us are all too familiar with. Most of us cope with such stressors in different ways. Some resort to vigorous exercise or set aside relaxation time while others may turn to alcohol or drugs.

But how do we even begin to cope when something truly tragic occurs?

One such example is traumatic brain injury (TBI) especially when a loved one is involved. TBI is defined as an injury to the brain from an external force and can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. It’s estimated that 69 million individuals sustain a TBI each year. Those affected face significant challenges, as an injury to the brain means a loss in physical or mental ability.

Effects of Brain Injuries on Loved Ones

The impact of a brain injury has wide-reaching consequences. And not just for the injured individual, but also to family relationships. Rehabilitation is possible but a sudden and traumatic event on a loved one means having to cope with a new reality.

Family members have a crucial role during rehabilitation, but their own wellbeing is also at stake. Intense feelings of denial and depression often accompany such traumatic injuries, especially when they occur in loved ones. Caregivers understandably can feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Having to adjust to major changes in circumstances can place an enormous burden on a family.

While the rehabilitation of a loved one is a priority, your own wellbeing shouldn’t be ignored.

Staying emotionally strong starts by recognising how your life has been changed by the injury. Having an open discussion about your feelings with your family members will help to improve understanding and overcome challenges. The best thing you can do is to try new ways of coping whether that means participating in support groups or joining local exercise classes.

If a loved one has sustained a brain injury due to the negligence of another party, contact Mark Reynolds personal injury solicitors and we can help you make a claim.