Substance Abuse related TBI Attorneys
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
There are many ways that substance abuse can play a role in traumatic brain injury (TBI). The victim of a TBI may have been abusing alcohol or drugs prior to the injury, the substance abuse may have been the cause of the injury, or the victim may have begun abusing substances after sustaining the injury, or as a way to deal with the resulting pain.
Intoxication can also precipitate a brain injury in someone who does not have a chronic substance abuse or drinking problem. In fact, since automobile accidents are the most prevalent cause of TBI, and since alcohol and drug consumption is a significant contributor to automobile accidents, medical practitioners commonly recognize that TBI and substance abuse are inexorably linked.
While someone suffering from a TBI as the result of an automobile accident while under the influence may be an isolated incident, a survey of a patient sample conducted by the Ohio State University found that of those who had sustained a TBI, 60 percent had a history of alcohol and drug abuse.
Intoxication can complicate TBI diagnoses because TBI shares many of the symptoms of an overdose, including apathy, lethargy, respiratory depression, and disorientation. TBI can therefore be misdiagnosed or remain undiagnosed, which can delay urgently needed care. Those with histories of alcohol and substance abuse can also complicate their recovery from TBI, since they will simultaneously have to deal with the trying emotional and physical effects of detoxification.
After a TBI patient is released from the hospital, the stress of adjusting to memory and cognitive defects, emotional upheaval, personality changes and other effects of TBI can lead the brain-injured patient to abuse alcohol or drugs to numb the pain. This can then make it even more difficult for the patient to provide feedback with regard to his or her condition. The blurring of the symptoms of both conditions can also make it difficult to provide continuing treatment for either.
There are steps, however, that families of TBI victims can take in order to recognize and intervene in a TBI survivor’s substance abuse:
- As a caretaker of your loved one, learn to recognize and accept the telltale signs of drug abuse
- Help inform health care providers
- Encourage your loved one to seek rehabilitation
- Do not enable addictive behaviors
- Seek out your own support through a professional counselor or an Al-Anon group
You may also wish to consult with an attorney who can help you obtain governmental services such as filing a social security disability claim. If the TBI was caused by the negligence of another, please call or email us to speak with an experienced brain injury attorney. Our attorneys will evaluate your claim and may also help you seek financial compensation for medical care, lost wages and for the pain and suffering.