Post Concussion Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

How to Treat a Concussion


A concussion is a form of distressing brain injury. Post concussion syndrome also called post concussive syndrome and historically known as shell shock is a variety of symptoms that might continue for a long time after a concussion. The concussion period may last weeks, months and even a year.

Symptoms of post concussion syndrome

This condition can cause different symptoms;

  • Physical

The main symptom of post concussive syndrome is the headache. Dizziness is also a common symptom and older people are at a higher risk of experiencing dizziness. Some people develop sensitivity to noise or light, blurred vision and decreased sense of smell or taste. Others may experience ringing in the ears and double vision also called tinnitus. Other physical symptoms of post concussion syndrome are loss of hearing, fatigue, insomnia, vomiting, nausea and sleepiness.

  • Mental functions

Mental or cognitive symptoms include impared judgement, confusion, amnesia or problems with memory, often short-term memory, impared cognition and difficulties in paying attention. Problems with attention and memory are long lasting mental or cognitive symptoms. Post concussion syndrome can cause slow reactions to stimuli, information processing or difficulty with problem solving or abstract thinking. There may also be a decrease in social interaction and work performance.

  • Behavioral and emotional (psychological)

Behavioral and emotional symptoms are such as irritability, change in personality, depression and anxiety. Other behavioral and psychological symptoms include; aggression, restlessness, decreased libido, mood swings, impulsiveness, and loss of social judgement. People with post concussion syndrome also lack emotion, apathy or motivation and this may lead to depression.

Causes of post concussion syndrome

Post concussion syndrome is brought about by a trauma or injury to the head. Not everyone who experiences traumatic head injury suffers from post concussion syndrome. This syndrome may occur in people who had head trauma or previous concussions. It may be severe in people who have mental changes like amnesia, fatigue, fogginess or headache after injury. Other risk factors are prior history of headaches and younger age.

Psychological factors can also cause post concussion syndrome. This may rise from different factors such as brain dysfunction, preexisting vulnerabilities and adjustment to injury effects.

Treating post concussion syndrome

Treatment of post concussion syndrome includes psychotherapy and rest. Pain relievers can be taken for those experiencing headaches and medicine to stop nausea and dizziness.  Behavioral and physical therapy is advised for those with problems such as difficulties with attention and loss of balance respectively. Antidepressants are prescribed for the depression that follows.

Psychotherapy treatment to which patients are advised for consultation normally reduces the problems. Disabilities may be treated using therapy so as to improve one’s social life, work and other contexts. In situations such as a violent attack or motor vehicle accidents, the post concussion syndrome may be followed by post- traumatic stress disorder which is urgent to treat. People with post traumatic stress disorder and post concussion syndrome which leads to anxiety and depression can be treated with psychotherapy and medication.

Neurotherapy is also advised for patients with post concussion syndrome. This is where patients are given visual or audio rewards after producing specific types of brainwave activity.

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Post Concussion Syndrome