Post concussive syndrome is a bit complicated as there are a number of symptoms one can get from this disorder, including dizziness and headaches. These symptoms can be long-lasting and a person can suffer for weeks or months as a result of having this problem.
A concussion is actually a fairly minor traumatic brain injury, often the result of a motor vehicle accident or some other blow to the head. A person can have post-concussive syndrome even if they didn’t have a loss of consciousness at the time of the injury. The risk of getting post concussive syndrome doesn’t go up with the severity of the injury.
In most cases, this syndrome starts around 7-10 days after the injury occurred and lasts for about three months or less. Some cases can last up to a year. The main symptoms associated with post concussive syndrome include headaches (recurrent), dizziness, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, loss of concentration and memory, insomnia and sensitivity to light and noise.
The headache part of post concussive syndrome can vary and can feel like a migraine or can feel like a tension headache. Some of it can be related to a coexisting neck injury. The person also feels some emotional changes and families note behavioral changes such as extreme irritability, argumentativeness, and increased suspiciousness.
The cause of post concussive syndrome is not clear. It can be due to structural brain damage or a disruption of the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain secondary to the impact. Other researchers feel that the post concussive syndrome is mainly a psychological problem. This is because the problems seen in post concussive syndrome are similar to depressive symptoms or anxiety. They feel that the trauma of the accident led to post traumatic stress disorder. Still others believe that both physiological and psychological systems come onto play with post concussive syndrome. No one knows why some people get the disorder and others do not despite having similar injuries.
The major risk factors for getting post concussive syndrome: Increasing age makes a person at risk for the disorder. Women are more likely to get post concussive disorder but they are also more likely to seek medical attention with the symptoms of the disease The most common injuries leading to post concussive syndrome are automobile accidents, falls, being assaulted and having a sports injury.
There are no specific tests for post concussive syndrome. A CT scan of the head might be done to rule out other injury. It should be normal in post concussive syndrome.
There is no perfect treatment for post concussive syndrome. The doctor will instead proved treatment directed at the specific symptoms. Headaches are treated with medications for pain and sometimes low dose antidepressants. Depression and anxiety can be treated with medications or with psychotherapy. Memory and thinking problems are difficult to treat and usually get better with time.
One study indicated that post concussive syndrome after mild injury is likely related to post-traumatic stress and anxiety. This study looked at patients that had a motor vehicle accident and found post concussive syndrome patients had higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and were more anxious when compared to patients who did not receive a head injury as part of their accident.