Traumatic Brain Injury: Long-term effects, management and treatment options
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) most commonly include concussions, closed head injuries, or penetrating injuries. These injuries can result from anything between a simple blow to the head to a significant external trauma that can impact the normal function of the brain.
A TBI can have long-term physical, cognitive, behavioural, and psychological complications. Additionally, some chronic consequences of TBI include gastrointestinal dysfunction, fluid and hormonal imbalances and nerve injuries.
Researchers have shown that many individuals with a history of TBI also suffer from comorbid mental-health conditions including major depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse.
Clinical evaluation of TBI may include the use of Glasgow Coma Scale, neurological examination, cognitive evaluation or specialized imaging including a CT scan or MRI.
Some of the most common symptoms of a TBI include headache, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, difficulty with concentration and memory and mood disturbances.
A naturopathic medical approach in the management of a TBI looks to correct the biological and chemical changes induced by the brain trauma. Starting with the foundations of health a naturopathic doctor’s approach in the management of a TBI may include addressing diet, and lifestyle. The aim is to achieve optimal nutrition, blood sugar regulation, implement an appropriate exercise routine, and correct sleep disturbances.
On a more biological level we look to correct the systemic effects of a TBI by supporting the nervous system, assisting proper cellular function, addressing neuroinflammation and potential circulatory concerns. As stated above the mental/emotional burden of a TBI can be significant therefore emotional support and establishing stress management techniques are also key in the management of this “polypathology” condition.
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