Sleep Disorders Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

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August 29, 2019
Edward Smith

Sleep Disorders Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

If someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, there are numerous complications that might result and, according to a recently published research article, one of these is a sleep disorder. During the past few decades, the medical community has devoted a lot of resources toward exploring the causes, effects, and treatment options for traumatic brain injuries. Whether it is a motorcycle accident, a sports injury, or even an act of violence, all TBIs need to be taken seriously. The earlier these head injuries are diagnosed, the faster appropriate medical care can be administered. This can play a tremendous role in the ultimate prognosis, including the possible prevention of complications. According to this research paper, one of these complications is the development of sleep disorders.

More Common Than People Think

Based on the statistics from this research study, sleep problems following a head injury might be more common than people think. When medical professionals counsel on complications following a TBI, there are several common culprits. These include:

Chronic Headaches: It is not unusual for individuals to suffer from chronic headaches following a TBI. These headaches might include tension headaches, migraine headaches, or even cluster headaches. With appropriate treatment, these headaches can be managed.

Memory Loss: Memory loss is also common following a blow to the head. This memory loss may be anterograde (the inability to form new memories) or retrograde (the loss of old memories). As individuals recover from a TBI, memory loss issues may improve.

Mental Health Disorders: Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can manifest following a severe head injury. For this reason, it is imperative for everyone to seek mental health counseling as soon as possible following a head injury.

Often overlooked, sleep disorders can also manifest following a TBI. Based on the numbers from the research study, close to half of people who have been diagnosed with a TBI might suffer from a sleep disorder. Because this complication is often overlooked, it is also inadequately treated. Untreated sleep disorder can have a tremendous impact on someone’s quality of life.

Varying Forms of Sleep Disorders

There are many different types of sleep problems that someone might develop after a traumatic brain injury. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Close to 30 percent of individuals will be diagnosed with insomnia which is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • About a quarter of people will have sleep apnea which may cause them to stop breathing in their sleep, causing them to wake up and feel short of breath
  • Close to 30 percent of individuals will be diagnosed with hypersomnia or a dramatically increased need for sleep
  • 4 percent of people have been diagnosed with narcolepsy which causes individuals to fall asleep suddenly

These sleep disorders have the potential to dramatically change someone’s day to day life. Because of this, it is important for everyone to be prepared to address these sleep problems.

Watch YouTube Video: Take a moment to watch as Dr. Simon Tinawi, Physiatrist and Rehabilitation Specialist, explains why people may experience sleep issues after a traumatic brain injury.

Addressing Sleep Problems After a TBI

These numbers show that not only are sleep disorders common after a TBI but also that they can manifest in different ways. The researchers also noted that the severity of these disorders will vary depending on the degree of damage within the brain tissue itself. Initial treatments of sleep problems are typically conservative, focusing on counseling. Then, these treatments escalate to medical treatment if necessary. More research needs to be focused on the effectiveness of these treatment options. It will be interesting to see if this research produces new therapies to help individuals suffering from sleep problems after a brain injury.

San Francisco Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyer. Sleep problems after a traumatic brain injury can have an adverse impact on someone’s quality of life. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another individual or entity, please reach out to me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

I’m part of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum,  a group of injury attorneys that have negotiated settlements & won verdicts of greater than $1 million for their clients.

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Citation of Photo: Pixabay.

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