Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
What Is Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?
Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), or concussion, is a condition caused by injury to soft structures in the brain, often resulting in long-term consequences. It can occur when the head sustains a violent impact, such as a sports injury, or when the head is involved in a forceful motion, such as whiplash experienced in a car accident.
Unfortunately, TBI is widely underdiagnosed. While major trauma to the brain is obvious enough, mild TBI may not be apparent on diagnostic imaging, including MRI and CT scans, and can leave you unaware that your symptoms are actually a concussion.
For example, if you are in a car accident, you may be seemingly unscathed but have actually sustained a mild TBI due to whiplash. Or, you can sustain a mild traumatic brain injury while participating in contact sports as the result of a fall, a tackle, or collision with another player.
Mild TBI can result in a brief change in mental status such as confusion, disorientation, and/or loss of consciousness. This typically lasts less than 30 minutes. When those symptoms subside, you may believe that the concussion does not need further treatment. However, symptoms may not appear for days or even weeks after a brain injury and can last for many years when left untreated.
The signs of mild TBI may be misdiagnosed as mental illness, as you may look and act normal but suffer from internal changes in the brain that predispose you to depression, anxiety, and other issues that affect mental wellness.