Do You Remember If You’ve Had A Traumatic Brain Injury?

Through our imaging work, we’ve discovered that many people forget they sustained a traumatic brain injury and we have to ask them “Did you ever have a brain injury?” several times to uncover if they had one or not.

Head Trauma is Often Overlooked in Psychiatry

We often have to specifically ask people if they have ever fallen out of a tree, dove into a shallow pool, fell off a fence head first, been in a car accident, or had concussions playing sports. It’s quite interesting the percentage of people who initially say no to the question about brain injury, but then we see evidence of an injury on a scan and continue to ask the question, they begin to remember all sorts of incidents like going through a windshield of a car, falling off a cliff, or falling out of a third-story window.

Research published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society demonstrates that this experience is not unique to Amen Clinics. The study was a 35-year longitudinal study of 1,265 children. Of those who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), only slightly more than half of the people recalled that they had sustained a head injury when asked about it later in life. The other half of the people “forgot”.

Additionally, the accuracy of their recall differed depending upon the severity of the injury. Those that sustained moderate to severe head injury had almost perfect recall that they had indeed experienced a head injury at some point in their lives. However, most TBI’s are mild and the recall of these injuries was quite poor.

Furthermore, the longer ago the injury occurred affected the accuracy of recall – the longer ago, the poorer the recall. It was also noted that the earlier in life that a TBI happened, the more vulnerable a person was too negative outcomes later in life as a result of the TBI…yet these are the same folks that are the most likely to not remember that they even sustained a TBI.

TBI Symptoms Aren’t Always Immediate

While some people develop symptoms immediately following a TBI, others find their symptoms emerge over a period of weeks or months. As a result of this delay, the underlying cause of the symptoms is often forgotten and not uncovered. Many times, doctors simply don’t ask about possible injury to the brain or don’t actually look at the brain with imaging. Instead, the problems are frequently attributed to a psychiatric condition and the person is treated with medication.

The impact of head trauma is often overlooked in psychiatry. Even minor head injuries to vulnerable parts of the brain can cause problems for years to come. Brain SPECT imaging is one of the best tools for detecting the functional damage from traumatic brain injury that is often not seen on CT and MRI studies.

Research shows that undiagnosed brain injuries are a major cause of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, ADD/ADHD, and suicide.

Over the past 26 years, Amen Clinics has helped thousands of people heal their brains and they can help you, too. With targeted treatment, you can change your brain and change your life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with behavior issues or to learn more about the effects of brain injury and how Amen Clinics can help, please call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

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  1. Terry Swift says:

    Oh, I remember the car accident all too well. Unfortunately for me, this happened in the early 60’s when TBI was not even a question to be asked. I had suffered a broken collar bone, but nobody; even my parents seemed to notice the change in my emotions – becoming a very angry child and acting out in school and more. When I revisited the issue several years ago, after seeing Dr. Amen on PBS; I asked my older brother and sister – who were also in the accident (with my long deceased dad – 1980 to cancer) what they remembered and they did not want to discuss it. I though how strange. Then my brother passed away several years ago after having lived with Crohn’s Disease and other issues; but actually died from pancreatic cancer that was inoperable due to the Crohn’s. My sister has had many issue, especially with her thyroid; but won’t go there about the accident. Back then car seat belts were nearly non-existent and we were not buckled in when a tire blew and we careened over an embankment down a hill about 50-75 feet or so and stopped in a creek bed. I was asleep, so not aware of the crash. My sister just had some minor cuts and my brother cuts (sitting by the window) and a broken arm. My dad, the driver was really messed up and stayed in the hospital for several weeks recovering.

    I had always felt off from that time forward, but knew little to nothing of TBI. I barely made it thru school and typically got D’s and F’s for behavior – yet again, my parents never said a word about it.

    I joined the USAF right out of high school and had some issues with authority and such early on, but managed to keep it check enough that I was able to go thru 20 years of service. During those years, I started skiiing and snowboarding. Not a coordinated kid / adult – I was on my back / head / ground often. I had a few spills where all I remember is going into a fall, blacking out, and then awakening on the ground – typically flat on my back. Unsure of how long I had been there; I was eventually able to get up and go my way. Issue with deep depression, ADHD, and even suicidal thoughts were a common occurrence during my military career. My marriage was a constant struggle. As a near perfectionist, I drove others and myself crazy. I could not let other people do my work or even help me, as they never met my standards – so I overworked myself way too often.

    After I retired from the military, I went into the computer / I.T. field. Liked computers, but learning curve was a lot. I could easily put in 12-16 hour days no problem – as I was always on the go. Way too much energy and nowhere to release it. Finally in 2001, I got reacquainted with someone I had known early in my military career. Since I was living far away from home and family – this connection seemed nice. It didn’t turn out that way, as the gal was using me (me blind to it) to get back at her husband and I was caught in the middle of it. Life went haywire at that point and I was suicidal. I went to see my Dr., who put me on mild anti-depressants (paxil) which did nothing. Since it was not working, they suggested I go see a psychiatrist, which I did. He diagnosed me as bi-polar. That’s when the real fun started. Tried many meds that barely worked if at all. Finally after not being able to sleep at night, my job performance hit an all time low – before all this I was wired for sound and on the go all the time (ADHD). Now I was dragging so badly I had to leave my job and go on short-term disability. I found another psychiatrist in another state and we went thu the list of meds – from lithium to Effexor. Effexor worked the best, so we stuck with that for quite awhile. My marriage came to a crashing halt, so had to move again. Found another shrink and they kept me on Effexor. Moved again after getting a job and went thru a list of shrinks, as each one wanted to try something new. Finally my body just quit, I then checked myself into Mental Hospital for a 7 day stay. That did little as there was no after treatment as part of the plan I then went thru several more shrinks doing many more meds and finally landing in Cymbalta. As most med did for me – they worked a little while and then quit. Dosages were upped to combat that problem.

    That’s when I saw Dr. Amen on TV in about 2011 / 2012. After seeing him and hearing what he had to say – he read my mail like he was right there in my room. Everything he said just clicked, from childhood to adult. Unfortunately he was located in Costa Mesa, CA and I lived in Texas. After finding out about the SPEC Scan and pricing; I was severely bummed as Medical Insurance would not pay it and I had nowhere near the amount to do the scan, fly out and back to CA, and stay the few days were required. So, it hung in limbo, with me checking to see if more locations had gone up closer to me. None never did, but a satellite facility was opened in Plano, TX and I had just gotten a windfall from back V.A. Disability payments. Now I had the money and a place close by. Called, made an appointment, and went for the SPEC Scan. When the results came back – I and the Drs were shocked at the amount of damage on nearly all lobes. Unfortunately that’s where it ended for awhile until one day I’m back in a Pysch Ward at a Hospital as I had tried to commit suicide once again, but the attempt had failed and on a Dr’s / Hospital visit later on, they asked me the question. I answered truthfully and got a 3 day stay for eval. A doctor there became my Psych Dr and she started me on ECT’s. What a mistake, but I had no idea how badly till later. Left her pretty quickly. Bounced around mainly with regular doctors prescribing my meds. Then a chance encounter with TMS came into view. Only thing was this procedure was $20k for a 4-6 month trial. No way could I afford that. They offered ketamine and I did that trip once at $900.

    I then found Focus for Living thru Dr. Amen’s site for satellite and associate offices that used a lot of his methods. I went there and have been going for nearly 2 years, receiving brain training in several different way. As best as I know, it has helped some and I eventually got off the Cymbalta as well – as misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis had sent me down a depression / bi-polar trail of Hell. I do feel better being off the meds, but they mess with you so badly, that getting off them is a very long term ordeal. DO NOT GO COLD TURKEY! Very inadvisable.

    Without Dr. Amen being out there in the fore front many years ago, I’d probably be still seeing a Psych for all the wrong reasons and like I said – misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis stemming over nearly 15 years. Health insurance still does not pay for my therapies – so it’s all out of pocket – no small matter either when going twice a week. I had even tried to get into the local V.A. Brain Trauma Center here in Dallas a couple of years ago, but since I had not served during the latest 2 conflicts – the waiting list was so long for just them – they flat out told me no chance, due to limited space and doctors. While Uncle Sam did not cause the initial trauma, many head bangings on aircraft, which was my job and extremely toxic chemicals on a daily basis along with the ski and snowboard accidents while on active duty EARN me nothing.

    But I do know I’m not crazy, ADHD with no reason why, depressed / bi-polar, and so much more do to a SPEC Scan. Now to get it from “Experimental” to Health Insurance PAYS for it status.

  2. Jennifer Horstmann says:

    I have a question that comes up in my mind each time I read or listen to Dr. Amen and similar doctors. I wonder if in the list of types of common brain injuries, Dr. Amen has considered “chemo brain” as a type of brain injury. Many people who have had the misfortune of taking the chemo journey know that there is damage that happens. I was blessed to find one supplement that rescued my brain to a great degree, but I have to wonder if experts like Dr. Amen have more to teach and possibly research regarding chemotherapy brain injuries.

  3. Darien Chiropractor Brian McKa says:

    I hope more people read this to better understand how the brain works

  4. Ray Amore says:

    Do we remember that Howard Hughes was involved in nearly a half-dozen crashes (airplane and auto)? I have seen his photos taken after each crash. In each, he was unrecognizable. It would be scientifically naive to assume that these head injures were irrelevant to his end-of-life isolation and bizarre behavior.
    In my own life, I remember the day I walked into a steel pole that really rang my bell. It left me with an ongoing condition of tinnitus and a diminished ability to focus on things superficial. The best I could do after that was to study philosophy and to get several advanced degrees in philosophy.

  5. Shannon Alsem Cashman says:

    I have had several accidents car (one I even cracked the entire windshield with my head and didn’t get a check up after, was a teen and thought I felt ok) and horseback riding (unconscious over 45 minutes knocking several teeth out the rest were loose and breaking my hand so bad I needed surgery) nothing about head trauma was looked at except questions like who is the president and what year is it or looking at pupil dilation. I would like to know if its 20 plus years later what can be done if you do find TBI?

  6. Kylie says:

    This doesn’t sound serious at all compared to others, but I’m looking for answers. The only fall I can remember was when I passed out after hitting my head as a child from falling in the playground.

    How else can you get OCD as a child?

  7. Colleen Spivey says:

    I am 50 and had a fractured skull at the age of 11 when I was hit by a motorcycle. I do not know if it has affected me in life, but I do have depression (although I think that is just in my genes) and I just can’t live an organized life. I only mention that because it has a very negative affect on my marriage and family. My injury was on the right side of the head. I must have a lot of scar tissue because I have always had a bump there. I have heard about people having seizures later in life due to scar tissue. Any thoughts?

  8. Sarah Wollheim says:

    My son had a concussion when his friend dropped him and he hit his head on concrete. He is 15. We went to the ER and he had a fever. They said it was a coincidence. They said he had a concussion but his eyes looked okay and his headache went away. The fever went away by the next morning. No other illness. Can you get a fever from a concussion? Does it have to be a major concussion? His friends said he did not lose consciousness but he does not remember anything for a few minutes afterward. Wondering about the fever?

  9. Yolanda M DiSalvo says:

    I am an 85 yr.old female who has been fortunate enough to have lived my life with very few ailments. However about one year ago I suddenly developed Brain Fog, lost taste and smell,and appetite. Also my tongue was bright red and burned with almost all foods. I also have short term memory loss. I have lost about 16 pounds which is fine except I am 5 ft. tall and previously weighed 132 pounds. I began to go to different doctors GP’s, Neurologists, had MRI;s with no indication of abnormality and no diagnosis from the different doctors I was seeing. I began pursuing information about this malady on my own and found websites that talked about Brain Fog and different causes, i.e., prolonged use of PPI’s which I felt was probably the reason for my condition since I had been taking Omeprazale for several years at the highest dosage (40) mg. every day. As
    soon as I discovered this I began weaning myself off this drug and finally after several months, stopped taking it. Surprisingly, I didn’t experience any gastric problems . I have begun eating a bit more, but….I still have the Brain Fog and though I push through it every day my hope is to finally be normal again. I would appreciate any information you can give me to be finally be rid of this problem.


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