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POST CONCUSSION SYNDROME

Post concussion syndrome can be a distressing and confusing condition. It’s often experienced by people who have had a blow to the head or who have suffered a minor head injury. The symptoms can include dizziness, poor concentration, poor short term memory, fatigue, mood swings and headache. In many cases, instead of getting steadily better after a few weeks, the symptoms seem to get worse.

One of the most distressing aspects of the condition is that there’s often no cause showing up on brain scans such as a structural brain injury so their symptoms are not easily explained. This can make sufferers feel dismissed or misdiagnosed. The fact that the symptoms are happening after they have hit their head will have convinced them that they have suffered a brain injury. The feeling of not being taken seriously can often make sufferers feel anxious and misunderstood.

The term ‘concussion’ isn’t universally applied to symptoms following a head injury. There are some medical practitioners who don’t use the term at all as they feel that it’s not a medically agreed definition. However, it’s generally understood to mean symptoms following a knock to the head but without any significant loss of consciousness. The symptoms will generally be dizziness, fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and headaches. The symptoms of concussion will normally settle after a few weeks without the need for any treatment. In the case of repeated concussions, for example in sports such as boxing, rugby and football, there can be a significant detrimental effect on the brain but in the case of an isolated concussion, the prognosis is generally very good.

Post concussion Syndrome can develop in any individual and is generally linked to psychological distress in some form. This could be a psychological injury related to the original injury or pre-existing psychological vulnerability. It could also be psychological distress that develops because the sufferer feels that they are not being taken seriously by medical professionals and others. A sufferer may be convinced that they have suffered a serious brain injury and that their symptoms will never get better. They may have experienced difficulty performing their job their job and concerned that they will lose their job and lifestyle for ever. Any anxiety has been seen to worsen symptoms. Symptoms that persist or worsen will cause anxiety.

POST CONCUSSION SYNDROMEIt’s thought that the reason that this syndrome occurs is that the brain’s neural pathways are disturbed so that the way that an individual experiences sensations is heightened and distorted. The brain loses some of it’s ability to filter out abnormal sensations. The condition is often referred to as a ‘functional disorder’ because there is no physical cause for the symptoms. There is no specific treatment for Post Concussion Syndrome although Psychological therapy will help in most cases. The reduction of anxiety and an understanding of the condition can help to alleviate the symptoms along with accepting that there is no physical brain injury to be treated.

Posted on Jan 18th, 2021 by Anthony Heywood

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