What is a post-concussion syndrome?

A post-concussion syndrome includes any lingering symptoms after a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. This condition is diagnosed if an individual who recently sustained a head injury continues to experience some symptoms after a concussion such as fatigue, dizziness and headaches.

The syndrome might start to occur within days after the head injury. In some cases, it might take weeks for the symptoms to arise.

Indications

The doctor will diagnose the individual with post-concussion syndrome after a traumatic brain injury with at least 3 of the following symptoms:

post-concussion-syndrome

The syndrome might start to occur within days after the head injury.

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vertigo
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues
  • Sleeping problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Personality changes
  • Light and noise sensitivity
  • Insomnia
  • Apathy
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Depression

The symptoms tend to vary depending on each case. The doctor might require a CT scan or MRI to ensure that there are no lasting brain anomalies. Getting enough rest is suggested after a concussion but it might prolong the psychological symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.

Management

There is no treatment available for post-concussion syndrome. The doctor will manage the symptoms specific to the individual. For the anxiety and depression, the doctor might refer the individual to a psychiatrist. Cognitive therapy might be recommended if the individual has memory issues.

The doctor might prescribe anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants to manage anxiety and depression. A combination of antidepressants along with psychotherapy counseling might also be beneficial in managing depression.

Many individuals with post-concussion syndrome can recover fully. Nevertheless, it is hard to foresee when this might arise. Post-concussion syndrome eventually settles within 3 months, but there are cases where it can last a year or even longer.

Prevention

The causes of the syndrome after a head injury are still vague. The only sure way to avert the condition is the prevention of head injuries such as:

  • When driving, always wear a seat belt.
  • Always use a helmet or other protective gear while riding a bicycle, riding a horse or playing contact sports.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on post-concussion syndrome is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage head injuries by taking a standard first aid course with Edmonton First Aid.

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