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Cognitive Disorders after Traumatic Brain Injury


A cognitive disorder is when your brain does not work correctly after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI often damages the front part of your brain, which is the part of the brain used for thinking and memory. You may have difficulty doing the same things that you did before the TBI.



  • Medicines help decrease your symptoms, such as headaches or pain.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Go to physical, speech, or occupational therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength and decrease pain. A speech therapist teaches you ways to improve your speech. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities.
  • Go to group or individual therapy. A therapist can help you cope with your feelings after a TBI.
  • Improve your memory. Write things down often. Use a calendar or an appointment book to remind you what tasks you need to do each day. Set up a daily routine.
  • Get enough sleep and rest. Do not rush back to your daily activities.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are more sleepy or difficult to wake up than usual.
  • Your signs or symptoms get worse.
  • Your arms or legs feel weak, or you lose feeling in a body part.
  • You have new problems with balance and movement.
  • You have signs and symptoms more than 6 weeks after the TBI.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have blood or clear fluid coming out of your ears or nose.
  • Your pupils are not equal in size.
  • You stop responding to others or have a seizure.
  • Your speech is slurred or does not make sense.
  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.
  • You have severe pain.
  • You have severe vomiting.
  • You want to harm yourself or others.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.