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Traumatic Brain Injury – Cognitive Impairment and PTSD

Traumatic Brain Injury – Cognitive Impairment and PTSD

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the leading cause of long-term disability in children and young adults across the world, with an incidence estimated to range from 100 to 700 per 100,000 people per year. Common causes of TBI are motor vehicle accidents, assaults and falls. Among hospital presentations with TBI; mild TBI or concussion is much more common than severe TBI, with 80-90% being TBI of mild severity. Recovery and long-term cognitive outcome after TBI is closely related to injury characteristics and injury severity – most people recover well from mild TBI, whereas severe TBI may lead to permanent cognitive difficulties. This presentation provides a definition of TBI, an explanation of the meaning of severity in the context of TBI and the characteristics that determine different levels of injury severity. Short-term sequelae and long-term outcome after TBI are outlined. 

The nature of concussion and post-concussion syndrome and the factors that are significant in causing and prolonging this condition are reviewed. Mild TBI is defined and its symptoms and characteristic outcomes are described. Controversies and complicating factors in mild TBI are presented. Implications for psychological treatment with individuals who have had a mild TBI are discussed.