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

Blog-Do You Remember If You’ve Had A Traumatic Brain Injury

At Amen Clinics, we’ve successfully treated patients with head trauma for decades. In many cases, we’ve observed a type of amnesia when it comes to patients recalling earlier concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or any other kind of head injury. Many people forget they’ve sustained a TBI when asked, “Did you ever have a brain injury?” Often, the question must be asked several times before the lightbulb goes off and the person remembers “that one time when…”

Sometimes, people have to be asked specifically if they ever fell out of a tree, dove into a shallow pool, were involved in a car accident or had concussions playing sports. A significant number of people who initially said no to the question about having a prior brain injury suddenly remember all sorts of incidents – like going through a windshield of a car, tripping down a flight of stairs or falling out of a third-story window – after seeing evidence of an injury on a scan.

Remembering Head Trauma

Research published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society demonstrates that this phenomenon isn’t unique to Amen Clinics. The research was based on a 35-year longitudinal study of 1,265 children. Of those who sustained a 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 completely forgot about it.

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

The accuracy of recall also depends on how long ago the injury occurred – the farther back you go, the poorer the recall. It was also noted that the earlier in life the TBI occurred, the more vulnerable a person was to negative outcomes later in life…yet these are the same individuals who are most likely to forget that they even had a TBI.

Delayed Symptoms

While some people develop symptoms immediately after a TBI, others find that symptoms emerge over a period of weeks or months. Because of this delay, the underlying cause of the symptoms is often forgotten and never uncovered. Many times, doctors don’t ask about possible brain injuries and 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 TBI that’s often missed by CT and MRI studies.

Undiagnosed Head Injuries

It’s estimated that there are about 2 million emergency room visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the U.S. each year, in addition to hundreds of thousands of unreported incidents of head trauma, including undiagnosed concussions. Research shows that undiagnosed brain injuries are a major cause of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, ADD/ADHD, and suicide.

Some symptoms of TBI overlap with those of other conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) where sleep problems, irritability or anger, concentration problems and social isolation are commonly found in both. Because of this, people can be misdiagnosed and given the wrong type of treatment if no one actually looks at their brain.

If you or a family member have suffered a concussion or TBI, take these 3 steps toward brain recovery:

Ask the Right Questions

All too often concussions are not taken seriously unless a person has noticeable symptoms right after the head injury occurs. Many times, clinicians don’t know how to ask their patients about previous head injuries. However, it’s vitally important to ask patients multiple times and in multiple ways, because they often forget or dismiss such incidents as inconsequential. But every brain injury matters – even sub-concussive events. If you don’t already have a set of questions for assessing a head injury, consider using this list.

Know the Symptoms

While some people display warning signs immediately following a TBI, others don’t develop symptoms until weeks or even months later. The result of this delay is that the underlying cause of the symptoms is often forgotten. Here are some of the most common symptoms of mild to moderate TBI and concussions:

• Confusion
• Difficulty with concentration and paying attention
• Memory problems
• Difficulty with word finding
• Mental and/or physical fatigue
• Sleep problems
• Sensitivity to noise and/or light
• Moodiness
• Anger outbursts
• Increased anxiety
• Social isolation
• Vision problems
• Balance problems
• Nausea

Take a Look

How can you really know if you have a head injury unless you get an image of your brain? Brain SPECT imaging is the best tool for determining if your brain has suffered functional damage from a concussion or TBI.

Brain SPECT imaging can:

• Help identify if there has been brain trauma
• Show brain blood flow deficits NOT visible in anatomical studies, such as CT or MRI
• Identify affected brain systems
• Help determine if there could be co-occurring conditions that need treatment
• Increase treatment compliance by showing pictures of results
• Provide scientific documentation that may help with special services or legal issues

Our Full Evaluation includes two SPECT images (concentrating and resting states), a detailed clinical history, neuropsychological testing and comprehensive evaluation with one of our doctors to target treatment specifically to your brain, using the least toxic, most effective means.

If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion or TBI and are experiencing anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviors, or memory loss, call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.


  1. 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.

    Comment by Terry Swift — September 15, 2016 @ 1:49 AM

  2. 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.

    Comment by Jennifer Horstmann — October 27, 2016 @ 4:36 AM

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

    Comment by Darien Chiropractor Brian McKa — May 15, 2017 @ 1:00 PM

  4. 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.

    Comment by Ray Amore — May 15, 2017 @ 2:17 PM

  5. 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?

    Comment by Shannon Alsem Cashman — May 15, 2017 @ 4:34 PM

  6. 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?

    Comment by Kylie — May 25, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

  7. 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?

    Comment by Colleen Spivey — June 22, 2017 @ 5:40 AM

  8. 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?

    Comment by Sarah Wollheim — July 19, 2017 @ 7:36 PM

  9. 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.

    Comment by Yolanda M DiSalvo — March 16, 2018 @ 10:47 AM

  10. What was the supplement that protected you from “Chemo Brain”???

    Comment by Patti — March 17, 2018 @ 4:30 AM

  11. They still could care less. Went to Neurologist after Neurologist and they laughed it off. Ones that said they specialized in brain injuries. I went to St Charles Concussion center they did not one thing.. More interested in the sports, they made more money. I had top insurance, BC BS. There Neurologist never even bothered to read my Mult MRS’s. Then he cancelled me as a patient. Top Neurologist at LIJ Hospital also did nothing..NO BIG DEAL.. I haven’t been able to work since 2012, 2 major head injuries..Do you thing anyone cared NO NO. I know for a fact there were major issues. Neuro psych’s proved it.. Do you think anyone cares, NO. 2015 ended up on the floor unable to move, went to Brookhaven Memorial Hospial, they had no idea and did not one thing.. Going to send me to St Charles Hospital for rehab..Discharging me with no reason for the situation, still could not move.. Finally went to NY Columbia Hospital that day and they dx. me with NMO. Still not interested in my BRAIN SITUATION… Can’t get anyone interested in my brain situation. Had put $500 down to go to AMEN CLINIC but was in the hospital the day of that appointment.. How do I order the testing to dx. the brain injuries.. Bring in all the Neuropsychs. I can’t afford any long the AMEN CLINIC… I’m now on Social Security, age 65. I have Medicare and Bc/BS how does Any answersone afford this treatment.. I still can’t function… Would love to still be working as a RN………any answers to help…

    Comment by Carol RN — September 5, 2018 @ 3:40 AM

  12. I had 9 rounds of aggressive chemo. I can tell my brain took a direct hit from the chemo. I am eager to hear his response.

    Comment by Michelle J. — September 5, 2018 @ 7:05 AM

  13. Due to fall in icy sidewalks I had first a concussion
    Which then was a skull fracture and then a subdue also hematoma followed by 18 hr coma released from hospital n my life has not been the same since losing all my
    Numbering facilities and spatial direction …getting lost walking to a corner store I went to daily for yrs before fall
    That was in 1988 and life has never been the same since
    My personality changed drastically costing me a 20 yr marriage n then a second marriage

    I’ve had no counselling and have tried hard to move on with life but still suffer pshycological damage
    I had written here previously with no reply

    Comment by Dale Strohmaier — September 5, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

  14. Hello Dale, thank you for reaching out. We’d like to have a Care Coordinator reach out to you to discuss further. If you’d like to contact us directly, please call 888-288-9834. Thank you.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 5, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

  15. Yes Dr. Amen I was hit hard on my head at age 13.5 yrs by a girl from my school with a very hard bound thick book with full force…out if jealousy. And at ahe 16.5 yrs I had full-blown OCD.
    But I’m in India and here psychiatrists don’t consider it significant enough to cause OCD.
    Then at age 38 I had a bad fall from the staircase in which my head hit each stair before I rolled on to the next.

    Comment by Ritu — September 5, 2018 @ 12:28 PM

  16. I am a 70 year old woman struggling to find a med that will help me.
    I just had back surgery which turned out to be a very traumatic situation
    Between the morphine and the anesthesia , I lost about 3 days mentally.
    I have tried over the years treatment for ADD and OCDC and depression
    I feel so terrible on them I don’t take the days necessary for them to kick in.
    I have made one visit to the AMEN Clinic and trust more in their supplements
    that the Pharmasuiticals.
    Just found this spot on the internet and took advantage of saying something

    Comment by donna parr — September 5, 2018 @ 1:49 PM

  17. I was in a very bad car accident. My Knee went thru the emergency break and brought out all my cartilage; my right leg was broken and
    the doctor said I lost most of my bone and he put a rod in my leg, my head was split open from the back of my head and down past my right eye. I was in the hospital for 3 months and in very bad shape. The good news is that I am a christian and a lot of people were praying for me. I had another one month of therapy to walk. Finally, my doctor told me all my bone in right leg was completely healed and he never thought it would. After one more year they removed the rod. He said if I did anything to wrong with my leg without the rod for a year, it would not be fixable. However, I didn’t need to – it also healed. For years I limped and now at 75 yrs I have no problems with my legs.

    However, I took a job where there was a lot of stress and screaming – I was an accountant and the owner always wanted me to do something
    illegal – which I refused to do. He screamed and me incessantly. Finally one day I went to work and could not remember to turn on my
    computer. The next thing I was in the hospital. However, I did not get the best care, my brain was overlooked and for 5 or more years I
    could not work. I did not sue the company that caused a lot of this but that was not good either because they cancelled my insurance.
    Now, I am having great memory problems – I can’t remember names, forget what I am doing, etc. I am signed up for Brain Fit but lately I seem to be slower at comprehending. Now I am worried. Thanks for all that you do!

    Comment by Patricia A Garner — September 5, 2018 @ 3:17 PM

  18. Thank you for sharing ur story. Seems you are now on a healthy path. I am glad you did not
    Give up. What treatments are you on now and how are they different had you been diagnosed with a mental disorder vs. TBI? Also wht is TMS?

    Thank you and carry on!

    Comment by Denise V. — September 6, 2018 @ 5:46 PM

  19. I just wish each of you could have access to healing treatments. It is just a shame not to have a chance to a healthy brain

    Comment by Denise V. Jones — September 6, 2018 @ 5:59 PM

  20. Terry. I also live in Plano. My son had several concussions playing hockey. We just did scans last jam because we had a bout of depression …. could t focus at school ( college ) etc. like you found someone to do scans here that followed the Amen protocol. We have now been doing it for over 6 months. But like you ….I just feel like here’s your scans …..take allllllll these supplements … and do some kinda of meditation …..

    That was it … follow up … no counseling ….no let’s see if these supplements are working …..

    I was wondering if you would share with me who you saw here in Plano. My 20 year old son is still taking the supplements …. and is taking classes here this semester. Goal
    Is to go back to Arkansas. We will
    See how classes go this semester. Have thought about a life coach …. and or some kind of counseling …. just to make sure his head is above water and help him organize. Have thought about sending his scans to Amen Clinic and see what they say as well…. and ask …..What is our next step.

    Just was curious who you saw here in Plano .? Although I’m
    Grateful for what we found out …. I also feel
    Like there should have been more the two visits ….

    Comment by Mona Lloyd — September 7, 2018 @ 3:34 AM

  21. Hello Denise, here is some additional information about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 7, 2018 @ 12:56 PM

  22. Some girl who I thought was my friend took a book and hit me in the back of my head in class when I was in high school I don’t talk to her anymore plus I was hit by a van on a crosswalk when I was 28 went flying through the air and hit my head on the street I ended up lying on I recently accidentally bumped my head multiple times weeks ago and haven’t been the same since but I was wondering if exercise can correct this in the future or am I forever doomed?

    Comment by Irene Cvietkovich — April 3, 2019 @ 4:37 PM

  23. I had several head trauma’s as a child including a basketball hoop falling on my head and knocking me out. Include a few hard skating falls and other stupid stuff involving head injury which I discovered affected me in later life. My SPECT test at Amen’s showed my issues and gave me the treatments to improve my symptoms. Dr Amen is a leader in treating head trauma injuries. His work with past and present football players, hockey players and even police and firefighters has given him such an incredible experience level unmatched in the medical profession. Don’t wait any longer if you have had a traumatic head injury and are experiencing the symptoms listed in the article.

    Comment by Michael Fleming — October 8, 2019 @ 1:09 PM

  24. Thanks for sharing

    Comment by sohbet — November 21, 2023 @ 4:18 AM

  25. Kış bahçesini yaptırmadan önce endişelerim vardı, fakat şimdi keşke daha önce yaptırsaydım diyorum. Evimize değer kattı ve ailecek vakit geçirebileceğimiz harika bir alan oldu.

    Comment by kış bahçesi — November 29, 2023 @ 3:56 AM

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