What to Do After a TBI Diagnosis
Once the diagnosis of TBI has been made, the individual who made the diagnosis or your state-affiliated Brain Injury Association may again be a source of help in finding professionals, programs and community groups that are available to help and to provide treatment to people with TBI.
As with any medical condition, it is important to gather as much information as you can about the condition. It might be useful to keep a notebook for recording the TBI information you find, and then take it with you to medical appointments. It might help to take notes about next steps and list the names of health care professionals to whom you are referred for treatment. Again, it is crucial to take a family member or friend along with you when you are seeking TBI programs to help you; two sets of ears are better than one. Also, this person may ask questions of the expert that you may not have considered.
What kind of help is possible? It is important to know at the outset that, although brain injury can't be cured, the negative effects that occur because of physical, emotional, social and cognitive symptoms can be reduced in four ways:
- Some of the symptoms that were triggered by the brain injury can be treated with medications. For example, headaches are common after TBI, and sometimes prescription medications are available to help when over-the-counter remedies don't work.
- Some problems can be treated with therapies, such as physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychotherapy.
- For intellectual (or cognitive) symptoms, such as problems with memory or attention, two kinds of services may be useful. First, cognitive rehabilitation programs have been shown to help many people function better after a TBI. Second, the person with cognitive problems needs to learn new ways of doing things to live life as well as possible. Professionals such as occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and neuropsychologists can teach the injured person techniques to help compensate for losses. These are often referred to as accommodations.
- Finally, people with brain injuries often are helped by banding together to share with each other their experiences and some of the solutions they've found in living life after TBI. Self-help groups are available in many communities and can be located through the state Brain Injury Association.
There are additional resources listed within this website, which hopefully will be useful to you.