While not all brain injuries produce severe symptoms, especially if treatment is sought immediately, the fact is that many do. One of the most common symptoms associated with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries relates to one’s ability to remember. Specifically, it can damage parts of the brain that deal with learning, and affect short-term and long-term memory. People who sustain a traumatic brain injury might even have difficulty remembering what caused the injury or the events prior to and after it.
Long-Term & Short-Term Memory
Oftentimes, on television or in movies, we tend to see memory problems relating to brain injuries depicted as amnesia. However, the reality is that those suffering from a brain injury are not likely to forget everything from the past and remember everything else moving forward. Instead, the opposite usually happens. Those with a brain injury might have trouble retaining new information, recent events, or even just day-to-day occurrences. Below are some of the most common short-term memory problems associated with brain injuries:
- Forgetting the details of a conversation
- Not remembering where you left things, such as your cell phone or car keys
- Not being sure what you said, causing you to say or ask the same thing several times
- Not knowing what day it is or issues with keeping track of time
- The inability to remember a route you took earlier in the day or week
- Forgetting either a part or all of what you read in a book or saw in a movie
The Prospective Memory
Individuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury might also have difficulty with their prospective memory, which is essentially one’s ability to remember their plans long enough to execute them. Many of the prospective memory problems brain injury sufferers experience include:
- Telling a person you will visit or call at a particular time, but not remembering to follow through
- Not remembering what you were supposed to do at home, school, or work
- Forgetting important occasions, such as holidays or family events
- Forgetting when to take your medication
While, more often than not, brain injuries tend to impact new memories rather than old ones, it is also not uncommon for some to have trouble recalling information or events from the past correctly. For example, one might be able to recognize his or her uncle and know who he is, but might not remember his name.
Memory of Sustaining the Injury
It is also quite common for individuals with a brain injury to not remember the event that caused it. In such cases, a person might remain confused or unable to store memories for some time in the aftermath of the injury. This is known as post-traumatic amnesia and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several weeks or months, though its duration is dependent on how severe the injury is. That said, if you cannot remember the events surrounding your traumatic brain injury, it is not likely that you ever will since your brain never stored those memories.
What Can Be Done?
The first thing you should do after sustaining a brain injury is to see a doctor as soon as possible. You might even feel fine, but putting off a trip to the doctor increases the likelihood of greater or permanent damage. If you have already been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, are receiving treatment, and are experiencing problems with your memory, there are some ways to cope with these symptoms. Here are some strategies to help you work around memory issues associated with brain injuries:
- Rid yourself of distractions before you begin and activity you want to remember
- Ask others to speak slowly or to repeat what they said to make sure that you understand it
- Try to give yourself some extra time to practice or rehearse the information that you need to remember
- Start using organizers, notebooks, a cell phone calendar, or apps that allow you to keep track of vital information, including appointments or to-do lists
- Keep the items that you need to bring with you at a designated memory station in your home, such as a table near the door or a countertop
- To accurately keep track of your medications, use a marked pillbox
- Use checklists for important tasks
You might have to ask a friend or a family member to help remind you of these strategies until, over time, they develop into a habit that you can instinctively do on your own.
Catastrophic Injury Attorney in Atlanta
If you sustained a brain injury that was caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you have a right to pursue fair and just compensation to assist you in your recovery. At Pratt Clay, LLC, our catastrophic injury attorneys will guide you throughout the claims-filing process to ensure you do not feel overwhelmed during this difficult time. We will remain by your side until justice is served.