Neurology

December 2011

FocusNeurology

Traumatic brain injury

Long term care of patients in general practice

Volume 40, No.12, December 2011 Pages 956-961

Lyndal Trevena

Ian D Cameron

Background

Traumatic brain injury is a significant cause of disability worldwide. Patients with a traumatic brain injury may have a range of physical, mental, cognitive and social problems involving care from a general practitioner.

Objective/s

This article provides a summary of the available evidence for managing the common mental health, somatic and cognitive/behavioural issues associated with traumatic brain injury.

Discussion

The long term sequelae of traumatic brain injury pose a number of challenges for patients, their families and GPs. Common somatic complaints include seizures, headache, dizziness and sleep disturbance. Common mental health problems include depression, psychosis and anxiety. Cognitive and behavioural or personality changes can be significant and persist for some time following injury. Quality of life is closely predicted by return to the workforce and long term functional status is often linked to the severity of the injury. There is limited evidence for effective treatments of these sequelae and a need for more research. However, there are a number of proven treatments and an emerging understanding of the long term sequelae of traumatic brain injury.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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