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What is post-concussion syndrome?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, during 2010 alone an estimated 2.5 million people visited hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. after suffering traumatic brain injuries. This number likely only includes a small percentage of those individuals who suffered concussions as, until recently, this type of brain injury was considered by many to be minor in nature.

Today, scientists and medical professionals understand that every brain injury is serious and can have a negative and potentially long-lasting adverse affect on an individual's health and life. For individuals who suffer concussions, many will develop a serious condition that's referred to in the medical community as post-concussion syndrome.

The onset of post-concussion syndrome is typically experienced within seven to 10 days after an injury. Symptoms may include memory loss, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, irritability and sensitivity to noise and light. For some individuals, these symptoms may persist for up to one year after suffering a brain injury.

Additionally, some individuals who are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome also experience changes in their mood and emotional state. These types of changes can be difficult to cope with and adjust to, for both an individual and his or her family members.

Certain prescription medications exist that may be effective in reducing some of the negative physical side-effects associated with post-concussion syndrome. There are, however, no medications to help with other negative and extremely disruptive side effects like memory loss, anxiety and depression.

Individuals who suffer a concussion and subsequently develop post-concussion syndrome are advised to see and remain under the care of a doctor. In some cases, it may also be advisable to discuss one's situation and how an injury occurred with an attorney.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Post-concussion syndrome," Aug. 20, 2015

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