Many brain injuries can result in severe and lasting medical conditions, or even fatalities, if they aren’t recognized, diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, even those who survive are often forced to deal with the brain injury’s adverse physical and psychological consequences. However, providing adequate support and proper care for loved ones with brain injuries helps them cope, and can often facilitate a successful return to everyday life.
The types of brain injuries that are not present at birth are known as acquired brain injuries, and can be classified as either traumatic or non-traumatic. You can differentiate the two based on causes: Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by internal factors, while traumatic brain injuries involve external force. Both can have the sort of debilitating effects that require various types of treatment to help the sufferer regain their independence and quality of life.
What is a Non-Traumatic Brain Injury?
A non-traumatic brain injury is a brain injury not caused by external physical force or trauma exerted on the head. Internal physiological problems or conditions are the primary cause of a non-traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries are different because they have diverse causative factors. As mentioned, non-traumatic brain injuries develop from internal physiological problems, while traumatic brain injuries develop from external physical force.
Causes of Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
Non-traumatic brain injuries can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common and well-known causes of non-traumatic brain injury are:
- Vascular: Vascular hemorrhage, stroke, or aneurysm of blood vessels can cause non-traumatic brain injury due to internal bleeding.
- Anoxic or hypoxic: Heart attack, stroke, strangulation, or near-drowning experiences, cause NTBI due to reduced oxygen supply to the brain.
- Metabolic: Metabolic disturbances, including kidney and liver failure, also cause NTBI as they disrupt the oxygen supply to the brain.
- Autoimmune diseases and infections: Attacks that weaken the body’s systems, including substance abuse, viruses, diabetes complications, seizures, meningitis, and tumor, can cause NTBIs.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms & Effects
Since internal physiological problems cause non-traumatic brain injuries, they can sometimes be difficult to detect. For instance, one may assume they are experiencing kidney or liver failure symptoms without considering the potential for brain injury. Some symptoms also double as effects of non-traumatic brain injury.
Non-traumatic brain injury symptoms can be categorized into physical, emotional, perceptual, and cognitive symptoms.
Physical symptom of non-traumatic brain injury include:
- Constant headaches or migraines
- Fatigue and body weakness
- Persistent seizures or tremors
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of consciousness
- Speech difficulties
Cognitive symptoms affect the psychological and mental functions of individuals with non-traumatic brain injury. They include:
- Memory loss
- Loss of concentration
- Shortened attention span
- Impairment of rational thinking and decision-making abilities
- Difficulty understanding and experiencing thoughts and abstract concepts
Emotional symptoms present in the behavior exhibited by the individual with a non-traumatic brain injury, and will generally deviate from their previous baseline to possibly include one or more of the following:
- Irritability and impulsiveness
- Aggressive behavior
- Increased stress
Sensation symptoms may affect those who suffer a NTBI in a variety of ways, “tricking” the victim’s senses and changing the way they perceive a number of tactile sensations. Some ways this may occur include:
- Pain sensitivity
- Smell and taste disorientation
- Touch, vision, and hearing disorientation
Long-Term Effects of Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
Many of the symptoms of non-traumatic brain injury continue long after its onset, and become part of the set of obstacles the patient must work to overcome or include on the road to recovery. This can be a daunting process, and brings its own set of challenges and potential long-term effects.
Depression and anxiety can become a problem with patients facing long-term rehabilitation, along with persistent fatigue, stress and irritability. That’s why it’s critically important that anyone who has suffered a non-traumatic brain injury be evaluated by an experienced professional like the physicians at Brooks Rehabilitation as soon as possible, in order to begin a program appropriate for healing not just the physical brain and body, but the mind as well.
Treatment Options for Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
No matter what the inciting event or degree of disability, Brooks Rehabilitation has the programs, resources and compassion for people in search of a safe and welcoming rehabilitation center for loved ones who’ve suffered a NTBI. Our facilities offer diverse treatment options tailored to the specific needs of each patient, depending on their condition, outlook and level of ability.
Here are some of the programs available to those who’ve suffered a non-traumatic brain injury at Brooks Rehabilitation, in order to help them achieve an optimal recovery.
We employ experienced, committed and well-equipped physical therapists who specialize in restoring the physical functions of patients who’ve suffered non-traumatic brain injuries. Our program offers various physical training programs to help regain the strength of NTBI survivors’ muscles and resolve any fatigue, neural miscommunication and atrophy. The training also helps improve balance, walking, and coordination for patients with difficulties walking and balancing.
Brooks Rehabilitation believes that, above all, NTBI survivors should be given a chance to restore their independence. Our occupational therapists offer physical exercise and psychotherapy to help restore patients’ muscle strength to improve their motor skills so that they may resume activities of daily living to reclaim their own lives for themselves. They encourage patients to use their hands and arms in daily activities, developing self-care skills and restoring their self-reliance.
We understand that language difficulty is one of the main cognitive effects of NTBI. Our speech-language pathologists and psychotherapists help patients restore their communication skills and language abilities. They also help them improve their ability to understand and present information. This and other therapies are part of the many options offered as part of our comprehensive Brain Injury Day Treatment Program.
Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy
One of the most devastating effects of a non-traumatic brain injury is the way it can impair survivors’ ability to correctly process and retain thoughts. Our cognitive rehabilitation therapy programs help the patient cope with NTBI fallout by treating potentially catastrophic effects like memory loss, and training patients on coping skills like self-management. We provide treatment based on the neuropsychologists’ findings on the patient’s memory, thinking, problem-solving and attention issues.
Our innovative and immersive recreation therapy program incorporates leisure activities, including dancing, music, and art, to help patients recover from the often depressing and isolating mental-health effects of NTBIs. Our recreation therapy program also helps patients further restore their language and communication skills through interaction, engagement and expression.
Learn More about Non-Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment at Brooks Rehabilitation
If you are interested in a safe and secure rehabilitation facility for a loved one with non-traumatic brain injury, contact Brook Rehabilitation for a consultation today. Our professional, compassionate health practitioners and therapists are committed to providing patients treatment and recovery programs uniquely tailored to their specific needs, to ensure optimal recovery and a return to independent living.