• brain injury adhd

Second Impact Syndrome and Post Concussion Syndrome

… So, say you have suffered from a physical assault to the head and have concussion-like symptoms. What happens if the symptoms do not diminish within two weeks? You are most likely experiencing what is called post concussion syndrome, or PCS. You are also at risk for second impact syndrome (SIS), in which you may experience significant brain swelling if subject to a second TBI while recovering from the first. After a mTBI, risks and symptoms may change. The cumulative effects of multiple mTBI’s may lead to more severe symptoms and risk for long-lasting neurological defects. An athlete with a prior sports-related concussion is 100-200% more likely to be victim of a second concussion.

There are many factors that can affect symptoms of persistent concussion-like symptoms:

Consider a piece of technology such as a labtop or tablet. Let’s say you drop it from a significant height of the ground, causing a small crack on the screen and minor systemic software defects. You must be extra careful with your gadget now – even a small bump can result in much greater signs of damage. An initial injury made your computer much more vulnerable to additional problems because an initial damage introduced multiple more defect locations that future damage can build on. An important concept to grasp is that those who are suffering from mTBI are more susceptible to greater injury afterwards.

SIS is characterized by sudden swelling of the brain during the recovery period of an initial mTBI. As with the example above, the second injury resulting in SIS can be much less severe than the first even though the apparent damage is greater. SIS should not be taken lightly as complications can be very severe.

Not all chronic mTBI-related conditions are as severe as SIS. However, a condition such as PCS can have significant implications on one’s quality of life. If you or a loved one is suspicious of a chronic mTBI-related condition, it is imperative to receive an evaluation as soon as possible. For instance, in many cases, an evaluation may help determine in many case whether or not one is suffering from dementia, PCS, or a different disorder entirely.

Typically, those with PCS will present with three or more of the following symptoms for a sustained amount of time:

  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness and/or Concentration Difficulties
  • Disruptive Sleep Patterns
  • Headache
  • Vertigo/Dizziness
  • Easily Provoked Irritability/Aggression
  • Anxiety, Depression, or Emotional Liability
  • Apathy
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Personality Changes/Inappropriate Behavior

Here at Pathways we tackle the complex nature of PCS in a comprehensive manner:

  1. Comprehensive Evaluation
  2. Education
  3. Psychological Treatment
  4. Biofeedback Therapy
  5. Cognitive Rehabilitation
  6. Sleep Management