Brain injuries can cause serious cognitive damage, leading to a wide range of physical and mental impairments. These include memory loss, difficulty with problem-solving and reasoning, impaired motor skills, speech problems and changes in behavior. In some cases, the effects of brain injury may be permanent or even fatal.
The severity of the cognitive damage depends on several factors such as the type of injury sustained (traumatic versus non-traumatic), its location within the brain and how quickly it was treated. Traumatic brain injuries usually involve direct trauma to the head from an external force while non-traumatic injuries result from internal events such as stroke or infection. The part of the brain affected will also determine which functions are most impacted by a particular injury; for example, frontal lobe injuries often lead to executive functioning deficits like poor planning ability and impulse control issues.
In addition to physical symptoms associated with these types of brain trauma, psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder can also occur following a severe head injury. Cognitive therapy is often used in conjunction with medical treatment in order to help patients regain lost abilities or cope better with their disabilities caused by their condition.
Cognitive Recovery After a Brain Injury
Cognitive recovery after a brain injury is an important part of the rehabilitation process. It involves regaining lost cognitive abilities, such as memory, language, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Cognitive recovery can be affected by many factors including severity of the injury, age at time of injury and pre-injury level of functioning. The goal of cognitive rehabilitation is to help individuals regain their highest possible level of functioning in the areas impacted by the injury.
The aim is to maximize independence and quality of life for those with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). This can involve compensatory strategies that allow individuals to function despite deficits caused by their TBI; or remedial approaches which seek to treat underlying deficits directly through re-learning or relearning specific skills or processes. A combination approach may also be used depending on individual needs and goals. With appropriate intervention, most people who have suffered a TBI can make significant progress in cognitive recovery over time.