How TBI Can Affect Teens and Adolescents

Posted on April 30, 2021

Brain injuries are as uncalled for as the recovery is unpleasant. Suffering from TBI is the worst nightmare one could face. TBI is not like flu or cold that goes away with time, or you might even be able to bear with it. TBI brings along a massive dishevelment of normal lifestyle, not only subjecting the victim to pain and fatigue but also the alienation of adjusting to the new routine. 

This can be most significantly observed in children, especially from ages 0-14. Although children show faster recovery than adults, it's not actually all that good. With a lifetime estimate of 2.5% of reported TBI, children can become easy victims to TBI. 

What are the main causes of TBI in children? 

The answer is not that difficult when you figure out that children tend to be more daring and energetic when it comes to sports and outdoor activities. Unlike adults who experience TBI due to driving accidents or slipping in the washroom, the highest reported cases of TBI in children were sports-related. Other main causes include:

  • Child abuse
  • Falling – especially infants that often fall downstairs or from their cribs
  • Hit by a moving vehicle or in an accident 

How is TBI in children different?

TBI is not a single condition. It is accompanied by many other symptoms. Some of the common symptoms that all TBI patients suffer from are:

  • Short term memory
  • Disturbed sleep patterns (oversleeping and insomnia)
  • Reduced cognitive functions (sight, hearing, touch) and critical thinking
  • Disbalance
  • Nausea and light-headedness
  • Anxiety, depression, and frustration
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

These are symptoms common to all, but why is it that children may be more affected by them? Well, the main difference lies in how one reacts to it. Typically, children and teenagers respond differently because:

  1. Children, especially those under ten years, are unable to correctly identify the symptoms and how they're feeling, so this hinders monitoring their recovery. Also, they themselves cannot self-diagnose an issue and are uncertain when to report an injury or painful stimulus. 
  2. Children are more energetic and can easily get frustrated. Unlike adults, children will not understand the gravity of the situation of having to live a restricted lifestyle. Also, coping up with the shortcomings of TBI can be a huge challenge. 
  3. Teenagers are more prone to peer pressure and staying in trend. The anxiety and depression that come with TBI are increased two-fold as compared to adults. 

What are the most common hindrances that children with TBI face?

The post-recovery condition is the most challenging part for children with TBI. Coping up with the lifestyle changes during rehabilitation is a hurdle in itself. But then adjusting to normal life again is tiresome and lengthy. 

Children with TBI history have shown learning disorders, short attention span, speech problems, and bone and joint problems, to name a few. Also, parents of such children showed more inclination towards private health insurance. 

Simply put, recovering from TBI that too at a young age is not a complete recovery at all. In fact, the child may not be the same anymore, even personality-wise, not to forget the various cognitive impairments post-recovery.