Post-Concussion Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

A concussion is a brain injury that is a consequence of a minor head injury or trauma.

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) refers to symptoms that stay after a person has suffered a concussion. This condition can be diagnosed when a person who recently had a head trauma or concussion still experiences certain symptoms like;

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Apathy
  • Vertigo
  • Noise sensitivitiy
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Different people will present different symptoms and there’s no single way to diagnose it. To ensure no abnormalities in the brain, an MRI or CT scan can be done.

The goal of post-concussion treatment is to treat or relieve symptoms.

Causes of Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome occurs after a concussion but not everyone who suffers a concussion ends up suffering post-concussion syndrome. The reason for this is not known.

Some major causes of PCS include;

  • A fall
  • An automobile accident
  • A hit on the head for example; during boxing or wrestling
  • After violent assault

The incidence of PCS is not dependent on how severe the brain trauma is.

Predisposition to Post-Concussion Syndrome

Anyone who just suffered a concussion is predisposed to post concussion syndrome, with those over 40 years of age having a higher predisposition.

Studies have shown that does with pre-existing mental problems are at a higher risk of getting PCS such as;

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Depression caused by PCS is known as post-concussion depression syndrome. The reason this is likely to happen is because anatomically, the injury affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain which are integrated with the cortical limbic pathway that affects mood. On average this mental health instability can go on for up to 3 months. For some people, post-concussion depression syndrome could last longer for different reasons some of which include;

  • Thoughts about no being able to recover
  • Inactivity, since most doctors recommend rest in most cases of post-concussion treatment
  • Fear of social reclusions

Post-Concussion Treatment

Post-Concussion therapy does not go by a rule of thumb. Doctors will treat you based on the symptoms that are presented. The universal recommendation though is rest.

In cases of mental health complications such as depression, you will be referred to a psychiatrist who will put you through post-concussion depression treatment which involves anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications in the case of anxiety.

Post-concussion depression treatment can also include some counselling sessions for a quicker recovery.

How to Prevent Post-Concussion Syndrome

The easiest and most practical way to go about avoiding post-concussion syndrome is to avoid or protect yourself from situations that could potentially cause traumatic brain injury.

Some tips are;

  • Do not drive without a seat belt
  • Strap children securely in appropriate car seats when you drive with them.
  • Wear protective gear around your head such as helmets while engaging in high impact activities like boxing, horse riding, to name a few.

The most post-concussion therapy will need is rest while others may need more. For some, PCS will be recurrent, always see your doctor.

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