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Common Brain Injury Myths

A brain injury can be devastating for a victim and his or her loved one, resulting in significant economic losses as well as physical and psychological harm that may involve permanent damage. Despite the severity of these injuries, there are many misconceptions surrounding brain injuries and it’s important for everyone to separate myth from fact when it comes to severe injuries.

Myth #1: A Brain Injury Will Always Cause Unconsciousness

Not every traumatic brain injury will render the victim unconscious. It’s possible for someone to sustain a severe traumatic brain injury and show almost no outward symptoms at first, aside from moderate disorientation. Whether a patient loses consciousness is a major factor in treatment, and responding paramedics and medical personnel will want to know if a victim lost consciousness for any time. If there is any reason to suspect a person suffered a brain injury, even if symptoms appear very mild at first, the victim should receive immediate medical care. 

Myth #2: Imaging Tests Like MRIs Are the Only Way to Positively Diagnose Brain Injuries

While it is true that some imaging tests like x-rays and MRIs can help diagnose a patient’s condition after a brain injury, these imaging tests will not only show signs of a brain injury. It’s possible and very common for imaging tests to appear normal after a brain injury. Medical professionals know this, so it is unrealistic for any party to claim that a normal imaging test result is proof no brain injury occurred.

Myth #3: Only Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries Cause Permanent Damage

The more severe a brain injury, the more likely the patient is to develop long-term medical complications from the injury. However, this does not mean that a mild brain injury like a slight concussion has no potential to cause permanent damage. Even mild brain injuries can lead to chronic conditions like regular headaches, migraines, and psychological issues that may take time to develop noticeable symptoms. Additionally, a brain injury victim is more susceptible to future brain injuries.

Myth #4: Brain Injuries Always Result in Psychological or Cognitive Impairment

Many brain injuries are capable of causing severe psychological effects and impair brain functions at various levels, but this does not mean that every brain injury invariably leads to permanent disability. Many recorded cases show people suffering severe head injuries and making full recoveries, while others who suffered only mild injuries struggle with chronic pain and other long-term effects.

The effects of a brain injury may be physical, psychological, or a combination. The reality is that brain injuries affect each victim differently so there is no firm way to predict what long-term effects any particular patient could experience.

Myth #5: Brain Injury Recovery Is Relatively Simple

Many people mistakenly assume that a concussion or other head injury simply requires medical treatment and recovery time for a victim to return to normal. Recovery can take weeks, months, or even years for some brain injury victims.

The severity of the brain injury, co-occurring conditions, preexisting conditions, and other factors may complicate a patient’s situation and lead to unique medical concerns later. There is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment method for brain injuries, no matter how severe or mild they are.

Brain injuries are some of the most severe injuries a person can suffer. Brain injuries can potentially cause long-term or lifelong medical issues that interfere with daily life. Misconceptions and myths surrounding brain injuries delay treatment, and may actually put brain injury victims’ lives at risk in some situations. If there is any reason to believe that someone suffered a brain injury, it is always best to err on the side of caution and seek immediate medical care.