Concussion: the psychological effects

Mental Health and Wellness
Concussion: the psychological effects

A concussion is considered a “traumatic brain injury.” Typical symptoms that may be associated with concussion include headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. However, psychological repercussions can be common as well after a concussion.

Following a concussion, depression, irritability and feelings of isolation are commonly reported.  A response to a traumatic brain injury may be experienced as a sense of loss – a loss of control, abilities or normalcy.  The injured person may experience anxiety or a sense of worry about the future moving forward from the concussion.  If the person is a student, he may fear that he will fall behind in school as he recovers.  An athlete may feel isolated from her team members if she is required to physically rest and as a result, unable to feel like she is contributing. 

 So what can you do if you or someone you know has suffered a concussion?

  • Seek medical attention.  Never assume that your symptoms are not severe enough to call or visit a doctor.  Your doctor will perform evaluations and tests to determine the best treatment plan for you.

  • Allow your brain to heal.  Everyone recovers differently, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you longer than you expected to recover.

  • Talk to someone if you are feeling sad, worried or alone.  Remind yourself that head injuries can affect different areas of the brain, including the ones responsible for thoughts and emotions.  Addressing your concerns with someone you trust (parent, doctor, coach) can lead you to support and comfort.

  • Stay positive. You can overcome obstacles and challenges that you are facing, especially with appropriate care. Allowing yourself to seek help has the potential to greatly improve your overall wellness.

A concussion should never be taken lightly.  The physical effects of a traumatic brain injury are often the most observable; the emotional and psychological effects may be invisible to others.