Lasting Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Published on September 6, 2021, by Matthew Sharp

Personal Injury

Lasting Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Persistent headaches, dizziness, light sensitivity, sleeping difficulties, extreme mood swings, cognitive impairments, and feelings of depression and anxiety are the most common lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The severity of the lasting effects depends on the severity of TBI. These lasting effects are likely to affect the personality, relationships, and esteem of TBI victims. They may also affect their capability to lead a normal and independent life.

Persistent Headaches

Regular, or even daily, headaches are a common lasting effect of TBIs. These headaches can last for months or even years after an initial minor brain injury. They also tend to worsen with time. The four main types of persistent headaches a person is likely to experience following a TBI include.  

  • Tension Headaches: A strange stiffness in the jaw and face triggers a tight, squeezing feeling throughout the head of the TBI victim.
  • Migraines: Intense, excruciating headaches coupled with nausea and sensitivity to sound and/or light. This sensitivity is believed to be triggered by sudden brain vascular changes.
  • Cervical Headaches: Their symptoms are similar to those of tension headaches, but they are triggered by neck injuries.
  • Neuralgic Pain: It’s characterized by a strong piercing pain alongside a lack of sensation on the scalp. Neuralgic pain is a sign of nerve damage caused by brain injury.


Another common lasting effect of TBI is dizziness. Following a traumatic brain injury, a victim may experience different forms of dizziness. Some types of dizziness will make the victim feel like the whole room is rotating. Others can make the victim feel like he or she is losing balance. Each form of dizziness has a different cause, meaning each will need a personalized treatment.

Migraines, inner ear problems, low blood pressure, dehydration, and strained neck nerves are some causes of dizziness following a serious head injury. Treating the source of dizziness is the most effective way to get rid of this symptom.

Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)

TBI-triggered light sensitivity can apply to all kinds of lighting, or just to fluorescent lights. It usually arises after an injury hinders the ability of the brain to adjust to new brightness levels. Although this light sensitivity has no cure, it disappears over time. It can, however, linger for six months or even a year after the initial injury. TBI victims experiencing this symptom can use tinted glasses to help ease the pain and dizziness it causes.

Sleep Difficulties

A TBI can greatly disrupt the victim’s sleeping patterns. He or she may be sleepy the whole day, but unable to sleep at night. Both drowsiness and insomnia are common lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury.

The victim can try to overcome insomnia by practicing healthy sleeping habits. This may include making simple lifestyle tweaks, working out regularly, and adopting a consistent sleeping pattern. It may also include using natural sleep remedies like herbal tea or taking sleep medications prescribed by a licensed doctor.

Extreme Mood Swings

Extreme mood swings arise due to damage to brain sections responsible for controlling emotions. These brain sections are instrumental in regulating emotional responses, emotions recognition, and emotions inhibition.

A traumatic brain injury can impair these skills, resulting in difficulty regulating anger and frustration. Consequently, a TBI victim tends to get irritated easily and express anger quickly compared to before the injury. The good news is that the victim will usually regain control of his or her emotions over time.

Cognitive Impairments

Cognitive impairments, including difficulties with learning, executive function, concentration and processing speed, and short-term memory abilities, are also lasting effects of TBIs. Luckily, cognitive rehabilitation exercises can help the victim regain these abilities. Continuously engaging his or her brain to stimulate it can create new neural pathways for faster processing of new information.

Depression and Anxiety

Some TBI victims tend to experience depression and anxiety. However, the link between traumatic brain injuries and feelings of anxiety and depression is not well understood. A 2019-study published on ScienceDaily found that 20% of TBI victims will suffer depression or other mental health problems.

Recovering Monetary Compensation for a TBI

A TBI victim has the right to recover damages, especially if the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. A personal injury lawyer can assess the victim’s injuries, determine the available amount of insurance coverage, and try to negotiate a reasonable settlement.

The lawyer can also identify and calculate the damages the victim may be entitled to in the injury case. These damages include, but are not limited to, past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, and physical pain and emotional suffering. The victim may also recover punitive damages if the accident that caused his or her TBIs resulted from the liable party’s gross negligence or deliberate actions.