Kansas and Missouri brain injury patients may be at risk for an elusive and little understood condition. Sometimes called post concussion syndrome (PCS), this condition may affect the patient for weeks and months, even years, following a brain injury. The brain injury does not have to be severe to put the patient at risk for PCS. In fact, patients can show symptoms of PCS even after mild brain trauma.
PCS is known by many names, including post traumatic syndrome, post brain injury syndrome, traumatic dephalgia and chronic brain syndrome. This condition has been the subject of controversy for many years. The history of PCS can be traced back to the late 1800s when many people sufferd injuires to the brain in railroad train wrecks. Back then it was considered the result of a physical injury. Later, with the advent of a new branch of science called psychiatry, the focus shifted to the possibilities of psychological causes. The most recent evidence, however, points (once again) to physical damage of the brain as the underlying cause of post concussion syndrome.
The symptoms of PCS are difficult to nail down; they closely resemble many other conditions. Unfortunately, this often leads to misdiagnoses that do not treat the real issue and, consequently, PCS is treated with unnecessary medications. Post concussion syndrome can affect an individual's mental psyche. More specifically, symptoms of PCS can include the following:
- Having a difficult time focusing and concentrating
- Confusion and memory problems
- Amnesia symptoms
- Mental fogginess
- Difficulty paying attention
- Frustration, anger, wide mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
- Restlessness and irritability
- Self-esteem issues
- Major changes in personality since the injury
In addition to these mental and cognitive symptoms, PCS patients may also experience physical symptoms like sleep disorders, fatigue, headaches, weakness, nausea, tinnitus and hearing problems, balance issues, and vision problems. PCS sufferers can also endure increased light and sound sensitivity, changes in senses, and controlled muscle movement changes.
As doctors and researchers learn more about PCS, new treatments and therapies may come to light offereing relief for sufferers. Until then, the road can be a difficult one for a person diagnosed with PCS. There is no test that can diagnose PCS. Doctors simply look at the whole picture and run tests to rule out other issues. At this time, doctors rely on treating the symptoms of PCS individually. Physical therapy seems to offer patients some relief. Sometimes, anti-depressants can help PCS patients cope with the anxiety and depression PCS can cause.
There is only one known effective prevention of PCS: preventing head injury in the first place. Using every precaution available, including seat belts in moving vehicles, helmets on motorcycles and bicycles, and protective sports gear can go a long way in preventing head injuries.
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