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Traumatic brain injuries and aphasia

Aphasia is one of the most frustrating side-effects that can occur from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) because it effects a person's ability to communicate.

The symptoms of aphasia vary depending on what part of the brain is injured -- some people simply develop disjointed speech patterns while others may have normal speech patterns that use the wrong words. Some may also have difficulty understanding what is being said to them.

There are some common clues that a TBI victim is suffering from aphasia:

-- The victim appears to know what word he or she wants to say but isn't able to get it out.

-- He or she invents words for common objects.

-- He or she substitutes one word for another ("chair" for "table") or switches syllables around ("roombed" instead of "bedroom") at random.

-- He or she can't understand other people when they speak quickly, needs phrases repeated or has to be told the same information several times over until it seems to "click."

-- The symptoms sometimes carry over into written language -- the victim may suddenly have trouble processing the information on a menu, for example.

Victims often find their condition depressing and unsettling, enough to make them retreat from their normal social interactions.

The good news is that treatments for aphasia are evolving and a lot of the older methods of treating the problem are being combined with newer methods. Treatment is no longer solely focused on neuropsychological rehabilitation but also includes medication that can help ease the worst symptoms. In addition, treatment is now taking place in real-world situations, which is improving outcomes.

Naturally, treatment like this is expensive and often takes a long time in order to get profound results. If you have developed aphasia as the result of a TBI that was the result of another person's negligence, an attorney can discuss the possibility of a lawsuit in order to recover the funds that you need for your ongoing care and treatment.

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, "Aphasia," accessed June 27, 2017

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