Concussions. Bumps to the Head. Whiplash.
Have you ever been diagnosed with a concussion or suffered a bump to the head or a whiplash? Did you shrug it off as “not a big deal” and get right back to your daily routine?
Many people don’t realize that symptoms of head injuries may not appear until 6-24 months after the initial trauma. Even smaller hits to the head, like those sustained in sports, can cause changes in behavior or emotional stability.
Difficulty making the connection
MRIs may not reveal the severity or potential effects of a head injury, and physicians rarely make the connection between head trauma and behavioral or emotional changes, especially when symptoms show up months or years later.
When symptoms do begin to manifest, they disrupt everyday life, interfere with relationships, and put a strain on family life. Loved ones often don’t associate the changes with a previous hit to the head because you seemed fine shortly after the injury.
The fact is, there may be a physical cause in your brain for those changes that didn’t show up on an MRI.
- Here are some common changes people who have had bumps to their head or concussions report:
- Focusing and attention become more difficult
- Memory and ability to learn diminish
- Emotions become more difficult to control
- You more easily become irritated or lose your temper
- Your behavior is more impulsive
- Any tendency you had before the injury to become anxious or depressed gets worse
- You may feel out of control, not understand why you’re behaving the way you are, or think no one can help you.
What if it wasn’t a concussion?
Not all bumps to the head are concussions. Nevertheless, head bumps can result in concussion-type symptoms. Any bump to the head needs to be taken seriously. Be aware that (1) multiple small hits can accumulate and cause the same effects as a concussion; and (2) general anesthesia can also produce concussion-like effects.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a concussion, suspect you’ve suffered one or received a significant blow to the head, this could be behind any sudden changes in behavior.
Adam*, a smart, engaging 14-year-old boy in a very competitive school, received two blows to his head in lacrosse games within two months of each other. The second injury was identified as a concussion.
Six weeks after the second injury, Adam began to struggle in school. He was no longer able to keep up in his classes, and his behavior became erratic. Because he was an adolescent, his parents and the doctor assumed that he was simply goofing off, getting lazy, and starting to hang out with the wrong crowd.
Fortunately, a school counselor referred Adam to our center. Through qEEG brain mapping, we discovered that Adam was falling apart because his brain was having difficulty performing.
Once Adam began neurofeedback training, he began performing better at school. It took some time, but he was able to overcome a negative situation and bring himself back to performing well in school. If Adam had not received help at the right time, his situation might have worsened, and he may have never recovered the mental acuity he’d previously had.
April had suffered debilitating symptoms for over nine years since an illness left her with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). After just six weeks of neurofeedback, she experienced significant improvement. This interview with April, her daughter, and Mike Cohen of the Center for Brain Training explores the power neurofeedback can have in people’s lives, even many years after a brain injury occurs.
What if I had an MRI and was told I’m fine?
Standard tools in the medical field like MRIs and other brain imaging procedures are not sensitive or reliable enough to detect the difference between mild and moderate trauma. They’re also unable to predict the severity of an injury or determine potential symptoms that could result. It’s entirely possible for someone to have an MRI and be told they have no damage or injury when, in fact, they do.
Additionally, erratic behavior and brain injury are rarely linked together because of the lapse in time between the injury and the subsequent changes in mood and behavior.
Doctors don’t typically look two years back in an individual’s personal history to determine if they’ve suffered a concussion or experienced previous brain trauma when making behavioral or mental health diagnoses.
Many people are not told they may experience delayed symptoms when they see a doctor about a head injury, so a year later, they may experience symptoms and not make the connection. Symptoms can be subtle, may take a long time to manifest, or may appear to be issues you’ve always had, just a bit worse.
Karen* came to Center for Brain Training last year, having suffered from depression for more than 30 years. While she had experienced some mild depression in her teens and early 20s, her depression became much more severe in her mid-20s– a year or two after two falls, which had given her mild concussions.
For most of Karen’s life, her depression had been treated as a psychological problem because no one asked her about prior head injuries. Despite trying multiple medications, she did not respond to antidepressants because her depression was due to a brain injury.
After several neurofeedback sessions, Karen was able to regain control of her life and is now free from the symptoms of depression. Today, she is living with a brighter outlook and continues neurofeedback sessions to maintain her mental health.
Repair your brain and reclaim your life with neurofeedback
Researchers are regularly discovering more about the brain’s capacity to heal itself.
Neurofeedback is an excellent tool to help the brain repair itself and alleviate symptoms associated with brain trauma. It’s very likely neurofeedback can help, even many years after an injury.
Neurofeedback helps change brain patterns by measuring your brain’s rhythms and rewarding you when your brain creates healthier patterns.
With neurofeedback and qEEG brain mapping, we here at the Center for Brain Training can help determine whether a prior brain trauma may be having an impact on behavior and other emotional changes.
At the Center for Brain Training, we have extensive experience treating brain traumas. We’re passionate about neurofeedback training and, every day, we see lives transformed.