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“Mild” Traumatic Brain Injury

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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has been called “a silent epidemic.” While it does not have the mystique of Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or HIV encephalopathy, TBI is every bit as prevalent as any of the above. Most TBI cases – about 60% – are classified as “mild” and the assumption is that rapid, full recovery takes place. But it is quite common for a person, ostensibly “fully recovered” from the effects of “mild” TBI exhibits subtle – or sometimes not so subtle – “personality changes.” A person who before the accident used to be assertive and forward-looking is now passive and indifferent; or someone who used to be soft-spoken and considerate is now irritable, quarrelsome and belligerent. members of the general public – or even medical or mental health professionals – are not likely to recognize the long-term effects of brain damage in these “personality” changes. They will be met with annoyance and social opprobrium or given the non-explanation of this being “personality change,” as if personality was an extracranial attribute. In reality, however, the maladaptive changes are likely to be a manifestation of subtle frontal-lobe dysfunction caused by TBI. Mild TBI is not always so mild!

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