Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury is any type of mechanical, physical injury or trauma to the brain tissue. This can happen with concussions, seizures, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, combat, or other trauma. This causes disruption in the brain tissue and thus in the neurotransmitters in the tissue. This can lead to symptoms of memory loss, personality changes, depression, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, psychosis, or even mania.
Why There is Hope for TBI
TBI can be devastating but there is hope for patients and families. The brain is incredibly plastic, which means that it has the ability to adapt and change. If supplied with the proper nutrients or supporting psychotropic medication, relief can be found. Supportive therapy and counseling is also very beneficial to the brain's healing process, as it aids the process of redeveloping healthy thought processes and neuronal connections.
Helping A Loved One and Early Intervention for TBI
Facing TBI can be very frustrating even with services. Individuals often feel out of control, helpless, and grieve the loss of identity, expression, self. It is crucial for families to receive support and to learn self-care and healthy boundaries because TBI is a beginning not an end. Understanding that the trauma can change the physical anatomy of the brain, emotional regulation, and personality allows room for empathy and compassion. While certain behaviors should be addressed, TBI victims also require encouragement and reassurance. It is important to identify signs of TBI for timely intervention, as TBI symptoms can further develop into severe psychosis, mania, or mood instability. The beginning of healing is treating the whole person, not just the neurological injury.
How We Treat TBI
Psychotherapy is highly beneficial to establish emotion regulation, identify patterns in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. To help patients grieve their trauma, our team utilizes Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), somatic experiencing and creative expression. These practices lead to skills that not only help emotionally, but aide in the physical restructuring of neuronal pathways in the brain.
The newer technology MeRT (Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy) has been proven to show significant improvement in 80-90% of cases. This FDA-approved procedure individually modulates brain wave patterns on the posterior, central, and frontal regions of the brain. Studies show that when trauma to the brain occurs, these wave patterns become altered and do not properly rise and fall when stimulated. MeRT measures and identifies these wave abnormalities, and restores the patterns back to their normal state. This process helps to reduce symptoms long-term, helping patients not rely on addictive medications for their mood.
We also provide medication to provide quicker mood stabilization - this can be antipsychotic medications to regulate the dopamine tracts, antidepressants to aid with serotonin regulation, or mood stabilizers for impulsive outbursts. Long-term medication treatment involves a functional approach in evaluating the damage done to the neurons that affects specific neurotransmitters. Supplements such as free form amino acids (building blocks of neurotransmitters) and micronutrients can significantly change mental cognition and promote healing.
What Ongoing Care Looks Like for TBI Patients
TBI patients require consistency and healthy brain stimulation. Social interaction is also key to stimulate healthy pathways in the brain, helping it to make lasting connections. An anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, and consistent medication or supplement compliance is also key to supporting the brain’s healing and promoting longevity and increasing quality of life. Last, a lot of listening is necessary for every person recovering from TBI. Psychiatric and neurological symptoms can change so family care and long term counseling, coaching or psychotherapy are critical. Feeling safe is a big part of the individual engaging other services like occupational therapy, speech therapy and other services like dental or acupuncture. DBT and breathwork can be applied anywhere so these are ongoing.