Acquired Brain Injury: TBI Vs. Non-TBI

Posted on June 1, 2021

Acquired brain injury is an umbrella term given to any brain damage that may occur after birth. This may include a variety of problems like an infection, car or sports-related accidents, falls, lack of oxygen, neurodegenerative diseases, or concussions. 

ABI has two main branches; traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury. 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury can be said to be more severe than a non-traumatic one and is usually a consequence of a direct blow to the head that may result in bleeding, experiencing anything traumatic, falls, repeated concussions, etc. 

Coma, bleeding, loss of movement are some symptoms that mark a more severe head injury and need special care and treatment; however, some common signs that TBI victims are as follows:

  1. Cognitive impairment: they face difficulty in processing information, communicating with others, concentrating, suffer from memory loss, lack of balance, less taste, and smell.
  2. Physical symptoms: constant headaches, extreme fatigue, vomiting, shivering, heightened sensitivity to light and sounds, sleeplessness, slurred speech, etc.
  3. Behavioral issues: short temper, get easily agitated, lethargy or laziness, and even at times project lack of emotions. Slow or no response to particular stimulus.

The above-listed symptoms are easily notable in patients even with mTBI and should be addressed as soon as possible. The doctor may take several scans to determine and grade your brain injury and may suggest occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, and language therapy accordingly.

Non-traumatic Brain Injury or ABI

Even though it is less acute than TBI, it doesn't necessarily mean it cannot be equally dangerous and life-threatening. ABI is usually caused by alcohol/substance abuse, lack of oxygen, brain stroke, brain tumor, brain hemorrhage, concussions, or any brain disease like dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc. 

A person suffering from ABI will experience such symptoms

  • Fatigue, stiffness in muscles, shaking
  • Constant changes in sleep patterns
  • Headaches
  • Seizures/fits
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Memory impairment
  • Poor limb and mind coordination
  • Poor balance

Due to its organic nature, recovery from ABI through therapies and rehabilitation is quite gradual, while medicines can be an excellent way to cope up and tone down the symptoms so much so that it doesn't interfere with your daily life.

 ABI can be pretty fatal and lead to further head injuries if the person is left untreated or unmonitored. Hence it's better to take as many precautionary methods as you can, mainly to prevent TBI. Please make it a rule never to start driving or even start the engine without wearing your seatbelts. Don't attend calls unless it may be an emergency. Most of all, if you drive a bike or you're riding a bicycle, always remember to wear proper safety gear like a durable helmet and some elbow or knee pads while cycling.

Other than that, make sure that children don't sit with the door and, if they do, secure it with a child lock and teach them to wear their seatbelts in the backseat as well. 

Use a stool to reach anything that is too high and can probably fall. Don't put glass jars or any heavy items on shelves that are within your child’s reach and if you have seniors living with you, make sure the floor is slip-resistant, and there is less clutter around the house.

If your loved one suffers from any three or more symptoms mentioned here, reach out for professional help immediately!