It is not always easy to tell immediately if someone has suffered a brain injury. However, there are symptoms that doctors and emergency responders look for after a person hits his or her head, perhaps in a motor vehicle accident.

The symptoms, and their severity, may depend on how serious the traumatic brain injury (TBI) was. The Mayo Clinic’s website reports that mild TBIs often have different symptoms than moderate to severe ones.

  • Mild brain injuries. Cognitive symptoms include problems with memory and concentration, mood swings, depression and anxiety. The victim may also become sensitive to light, experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, headache, nausea, confusion and dizziness.
  • Moderate to severe brain injuries. Confusion tends to be more severe, while the victim may also have slurred speech and unusual behavior. Physically, the victim may lose consciousness for several minutes or hours. They may have a persistent headache, dilation of one or both pupils and vomit repeatedly. The victim may also suffer loss of coordination and weakness or numbness in their fingers and toes.

Young children who suffer a TBI may not have the vocabulary to tell their parents about what they are going through. Parents should look for changes in eating habits, crying, irritability, sadness, changes in sleep habits and loss of interest in toys or activities.

A brain injury can be very serious, and it is important that a doctor diagnose a TBI as soon as possible. Even with proper treatment, it could be some time before the patient recovers.