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Causes of Stress after TBI or ABI by Charles Watson


Posted on December 28, 2019

The brain reacts to any traumatic incident by releasing a flood of stress hormones, mainly adrenaline, and cortisol. The body is put into action much in the same way as the body reacts by sending WBCs to an area that is injured causing inflammation. The hormones that are released cause the heart to beat faster, increasing blood pressure, quickening breathing, muscle tightening and senses become sharper. These physical changes help increase stamina and strength, speed, and reaction time and enhance focus. All these prepare you for “fight or flight” response.

This reaction in small doses is extremely helpful in overcoming the traumatic event. However, our system is not programmed to undergo this response for prolonged periods of time. When the body undergoes a TBI or ABI, sustained periods of stress triggers can become a problem and hinder our cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioral wellbeing. The severity of the injury and the areas of the brain affected directly relate to the level of stress.

Health Deterioration 

Although the body is adapted to take a certain amount of stress, it is no news that continuous stress triggers would not only cause mental health to deteriorate but would lead to an overall degradation of your body’s capabilities. A brain is wired to relay all kinds of messages, but after a certain level of stress the brain’s self-defense kicks in and shuts down the functioning. This will, inevitably, lead to many other mental issues. The weakened mind will definitely lose its ability to store information, which often causes irritation and frustration. 

In addition, the brain injury had already messed with the hormones. So hormonal imbalances are going to be one of the major problems you might come across. That not only hinders your body’s metabolism but plays a very vital role in maintaining mood. Slight inconveniences often tend to worsen your mood very easily and are difficult to overcome causing you to lose interest in most things you enjoyed prior to your injury. Couple with the already low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and frustration seem to become permanent partners throughout. Abusive language and impulsive talking seem to be your everyday conversation, and that really lowers your mental peace, which can cause depression. The helplessness and frustration are uninvited guests that may further worsen your personality and behavioral health even if you don’t intend to.

You may also observe impaired vision, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. Things seem difficult to grasp and remember. Moreover, epilepsy and paralysis seem to become dominant at this time. Even if you’re not old you might suffer from ataxia, which is the slight tremor in movement leading to clumsiness. Actually all your senses tremor like your hands do. You might observe reduced mind and body coordination, which is the reason you might have trouble moving around or even carrying out normal physical activities like walking or talking.  

It is unfortunate for any person to face head injuries because although the injury may be to the head, the repercussions are faced by the rest of the body.