What is Post-Traumatic Amnesia?

Anytime an individual sustains a severe traumatic brain injury and experiences any level of coma, there is a good chance they will experience some sort of short-term memory problems. Along with feelings of disorientation, agitation, anger, and impulsiveness, individuals may experience a complete lack of disregard for social convention. All of this is part of the healing process after a significant traumatic brain injury, and it is commonly referred to as post-traumatic amnesia (PTA).

What Causes Post-Traumatic Amnesia?

Individuals typically sustain post-traumatic amnesia after they have already sustained a traumatic brain injury and been in a coma. When an individual sustains a brain injury and emerges from a coma, there are going to be complications. Typically, the injury victim will have very little or no short-term memory at all, particularly surrounding the events related to the brain injury incident.

It is not uncommon for those coming out of a coma to be disoriented and even have issues with anger, impulsiveness, and emotional control. Brain injury victims may show very few inhibitions, and they may not act “socially appropriate.”

These are all symptoms of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). Those with PTA may exhibit bizarre or childlike behavior that is nothing like their typical personality.

PTA can be incredibly stressful for family members of victims. However, doctors are quick to point out that post-traumatic amnesia is a normal part of the healing process after such a traumatic incident.

The early days of rehabilitation from post-traumatic amnesia often include learning new skills or relearning old skills. This typically comprises skills that require limited attention, activities that can be learned through repetition, and activities that involve basic mobility and self-care.

We strongly encourage family members of those who have sustained a TBI and now have post-traumatic amnesia to ask the doctor and physical therapists as many questions as possible. This is undoubtedly a difficult experience for those involved.

Can a Person Recover From PTA?

It is important to remember that traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic amnesia are not like what we see in TV shows and movies. Individuals do not always make a full recovery and even those that do typically go through months or years of physical therapy in order to do so.

Anytime a person’s brain has experienced enough trauma to put them in a coma, it is very likely that they have also suffered from other long-term complications associated with brain injuries. This can include cognitive deficits, physical disabilities, and an inability to carry out day-to-day activities.

The prognosis associated with brain injuries and post-traumatic amnesia will vary depending on each particular patient and the situation surrounding the injury and the recovery process.

In the event a person’s injuries were caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity, it may be possible to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

We encourage any traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic amnesia victim or their family members to reach out to a skilled attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible.