Post-Concussion Syndrome is a medical problem that persists after a concussion has been sustained due to a head injury. If you think that a loved one may be suffering with this condition, there are multiple treatment methods that you can ask your family doctor about.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome?
The symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome can be three of the following afflictions occurring together after a major head injury:
- Memory Problems
- A sensitivity to light and certain noises.
How is Post-Concussion Syndrome diagnosed?
If you’re still experiencing symptoms after having been treated for your concussion, your doctor may want to order an MRI or CT scan of the brain to check for abnormalities. If you’re experiencing quite a bit of dizziness or issues related to vertigo, your doctor might also refer you to a doctor that specializes in the ear, nose, and throat to obtain a proper diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis for Post-Concussion Syndrome has been obtained, there’s a number of medications that your doctor might prescribe. They might prescribe Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Celexa and Lexapro, Modafinil, or Amantadine to help manage the fatigue that comes with Post-Concussion Syndrome.
If you’re suffering from headaches due to your Post-Concussion Syndrome, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant such as Prozac or Nardil. Antidepressants have been used to treat headaches since headaches are a common symptom of depression. You may notice a few side effects if you or your loved one has been prescribed an antidepressant. The side effects for Prozac and Nardil are:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Agitation; irritability
- Cold sweats
- Lightheadedness upon waking up
- Overactive reflexes
Therapy as Treatment for Post-Concussion Syndrome
It’s not uncommon to experience anxiety and depression after getting a concussion. There are many forms of psychotherapy that can help an individual suffering from Post-Concussion Syndrome.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a method of therapy that focuses on how your thought processes and belief can influence your attitude and behavior. It’s typically used to treat anxiety and depression, and is used as a tool to help identify negative thinking patterns such as all or nothing thinking, emotional reasoning or over-generalization.
CBT can help address some of the feelings of hopelessness that you or your loved one may have in regards to a head injury that might have limited an individual's ability to compete in a sport. CBT can also be helpful in providing stress management tools that will make recovery from PCS easier to endure.
If you or a loved one has sustained a significant head injury, speech therapy may be required to help restore normal speech patterns. A speech pathologist can help you or your loved one put together a plan that will aid you in regaining the speech patterns that were loss due to the trauma of the head injury.
Self-Care Tips to Help Manage Post-Concussion Syndrome
If you’ve been diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome, it’s likely that you already have been given a treatment plan to help you through the next few phases of your condition. However, there’s a few things that you can do to make sure that you’re staying on the path to wellness:
- Avoid alcohol and mind altering drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, and LSD.
- Form good sleep habits if you haven’t already. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
- Don’t let stress consume you. Life will already be hectic and stressful enough while you try to get back to your routine, don’t take on any extra responsibilities that will leave you feeling stressed and exhausted.
- If you haven’t already, be sure to ask your doctors about any medications that might help you with managing the depression, pain, and fatigue that come with Post-Concussion Syndrome.
- If you’ve already been prescribed meds by your doctor, be sure to keep taking them under their instruction, and be sure to check in with how you’re feeling.
Long Term Outlook
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Most individuals afflicted with Post-Concussion Syndrome recover within three months. The recovery period varies with each person, but most people completely recover. During the three month period, you may have frequent check ins with your doctor to ensure that you’re making appropriate progress.
Future Prevention of Post-Concussion Syndrome
While there hasn’t been a proven method that prevents Post-Concussion Syndrome yet, there are plenty of ways to prevent getting an initial concussion. In order to prevent future head injuries, consider doing one or all of the following:
- Don’t forget to wear protective head gear if you intend to engage in any sport that requires any sort of collisions.
- Always buckle your seat belt regardless of where you’re sitting in a vehicle. If you get to an accident, you’re far less likely to suffer from head trauma if your body is being held in place.
- In order to prevent children or elderly family members from getting a concussion from a serious fall, be sure to install baby gates along dangerous spots in your home, or install a handrail or ramp to accommodate those with limited mobility.
- Make sure to stick to a varied, and regular exercise schedule. Exercise helps improve your overall balance, and you will be less likely to suffer from a serious fall if you engage in activities such as yoga, squats, or martial arts.
- Maybe most important is having a strong neck and structurally stable cervical spine. This prevents the head from moving as much upon impact.
Who’s More Likely to be Affected by Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Anyone can be affected by post-concussion syndrome following a severe head injury, but there are certain groups that are more likely to be affected by the condition than others. If you have a history of mental health problems, are a young male, an elderly person, or an athlete that will continue to play, you’re far more likely to be affected by Post-Concussion Syndrome.
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