A traumatic brain injury often occurs as the result of a sudden blow to the head, such as during a car accident. There are usually wide-ranging symptoms, and the Mayo Clinic notes that cognitive symptoms may occur as well as physical ones. When this happens, changes in thought patterns and other mental shifts are possible, which could affect a victim in the long term.
Recognizing the cognitive symptoms of a TBI may help those identify changes in thought patterns after a blow to the head and understand when they might want to seek out medical assistance.
Not all traumatic brain injuries are immediately apparent and the symptoms may occur over time, such as problems with short-term memory. Those affected may begin to forget important dates, appointments and information. This problem may grow worse if it goes untreated. The memory loss may also happen intermittently, which could make this symptom difficult to pinpoint.
After a traumatic brain injury, those affected may experience feelings of confusion or disorientation, even when in familiar surroundings. They may also have occasional brain fog and have trouble focusing on tasks or following directions. This dazed sensation may come and go for weeks after the accident.
Changes in sleeping patterns
A TBI can cause serious shifts in a person’s sleep schedule and disrupt normal sleeping patterns. After the accident, victims may start to experience insomnia where they always fell asleep with little trouble in the past or sleep too much or too often, which could point to new or worsening depression in the aftermath of a TBI.
Even a mild blow to the head can cause the brain to strike the internal plate of the skull and cause bruising. As such, cognitive symptoms may occur no matter the severity of the accident.