What are the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?
Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Feeling tired
- Changes in mood
- Trouble thinking, concentrating or remembering
Symptoms of a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury include all of the symptoms listed above as well as:
- Vomiting or nausea that doesn’t stop
- A headache that won’t go away
- Unable to wake up after sleeping
- Dilated pupils (pupils that are larger than normal) or pupils of different sizes
- Trouble walking or speaking
- Drainage of bloody or clear fluids from ears or nose
- Slurred speech
- Changes in behavior, such as irritability or confusion
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
Always seek medical attention if you have hit your head. If you experience any of the symptoms of a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
What happens after a traumatic brain injury?
If you have a mild traumatic brain injury, it's normal to feel dizzy, have a headache or feel nauseous. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, neck pain, and feeling anxious, upset, irritable, depressed or tired. These symptoms usually go away after a few days to a few weeks.
If you have a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury, you may have lasting problems with thinking, concentrating or paying attention. Short-term memory may also be affected. There may be changes to your personality and you may feel anxious, upset, irritable or depressed. You may have trouble controlling your impulses.
In some cases, a severe traumatic brain injury can lead to coma or death.
See a list of resources used in the development of this information.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff