Sustaining a brain injury can have serious effects on a person's health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that about 1.7 million people have a traumatic brain injury every year. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, involves an object hitting the head, which may or may not fracture the skull. Even if the object does not open the skull and directly injure the brain, the force from the impact can jar the head, causing damage to the brain. Falls account for 35.2 percent of traumatic brain injury cases, followed by 17.3 percent for motor vehicle accidents, according to the CDC.
The severity of a traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) noted that traumatic brain injury patients can experience fatigue, confusion and a loss of consciousness after the injury. Some patients may have changes in their mood or problems concentrating. Blurred vision can also occur with traumatic brain injury. In severe traumatic brain injury patients, patients can have increased confusion, seizures and repeated vomiting. Patients may not be able to wake up on their own, and can have slurred speech and a loss of coordination.
Of the estimated 1.7 million traumatic brain injury cases each year, the CDC noted that 275,000 people are hospitalized. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hospitalized traumatic brain injury patients are eight times more likely to develop major depression. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, defined major depression as a form of depression in which patients have five or more symptoms for at least two weeks. Patients with major depression can have mood changes, such as agitation, feeling hopeless and self-hate.
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