An injured brain causes many life problems and often without the person knowing they have been injured. The following is a list of problems that result from an injured brain: Physical Problems
Headaches (including migraines)
Tinnitus (Ear Ringing)
Light and Sound Sensitivity
Irritability and Anger
Suicide, Mass Violence & Brain Injuries
Incidents of violence to self in the form of suicide, or to others in the form of assaults and especially incidents of shootings and mass violence, are directly related to brain injuries. This is a statement with which many will disagree, but the evidence is compelling. First, a little data:
59% of all mass shooters had a previously diagnosed or observed history of brain tumors, brain illnesses, concussions, or traumatic brain injuries
75% of all people diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (generally synonymous with criminal behavior) have diagnosed histories of one or more traumatic brain injuries with loss of consciousness
The single differentiating factor in a study between women with a history of only property or non-violent crimes, and those with a history of violent crimes, was a history of two or more concussions or traumatic brain injuries with loss of consciousness
People who kill themselves are statistically much more likely to have a history of concussions or traumatic brain injuries
Brain injuries are cumulative – every injury results in increased impairment in brain function. Typically, enduring symptoms are not detected until a person has experienced several injuries, and severe illness such as in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) do not occur until there have been many injuries.
Brain injuries occur on a continuum, from “micro-injuries” that are seldom detected but still have a negative effect on brain chemistry to severe injuries that include immediate symptoms such as loss of consciousness or visual disturbance. All brain injuries on the continuum, from “micro” to “severe,” result in a loss in the brain’s ability to properly control emotions and behavior. The cumulative effect of injuries noted above results in greater risk of suicide and mass violence. The good news is the effects of these injuries can be detected and proper treatment helps people to not only recover from the injuries but greatly reduces risk of suicide and incidents of mass violence.
How This Happens
The brain can be injured through concussions, traumatic brain injuries, psychological trauma (such as very frightening incidents, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and even emotional abuse), and high stress. The brain can also be injured at birth through injury, or through illnesses during pregnancy.
The brain must have fuel (or glucose) to function normally. When the brain is injured in the ways mentioned above the following chemical process happens:
The brain pulls glucose or fuel from the body at the time of the injury or stress so it has enough fuel to fight, flee, or protect you. This causes a process called hyperglycolysis, meaning the brain is getting too much glucose (or fuel) too fast. If this continues it becomes dangerous, so the brain turns down the valve that allows fuel in from the body. It does so not only in the moment, but permanently, because it wants to avoid future episodes of hyperglycolysis. This happens with every new injury, so you lose more fuel to your brain with every injury or incident. This causes the symptoms you are experiencing.
Fight or Flight” Process Begins
Brain Pulls More Glucose from the Body for Energy
Brain Limits Glucose or Fuel
Symptoms Appear and Remain Until Treated Appropriately
The great news is that although each injury adds on to the prior ones, and is permanent without appropriate treatment, through appropriate treatment you can recover. All of the symptoms mentioned above can be eliminated with effective treatment. Effective treatment consists of working together to get your brain glucose levels to the right level, so your brain is fully fueled and then addressing “error messages” from your brain as described below.
The treatment provided addresses the chemical problem and any inaccurate thoughts or messages your brain sends you based on the injuries you have had. For example, it is very common that people will begin to have self-doubt, low self-esteem, and even feel worthless or like a failure due to brain injuries and trauma. The brain misperceptions that lead to self-doubt and feelings of failure can be corrected and alleviated. Treatment is personalized and with Dr. Stephens and can be in person, over the phone, or via video chat.
Treatment begins with a consultation to identify the best treatment program for you. The treatment programs are:
Management. This is for less severe or more recent injuries and traumas. It consists of approximately 8 consultation sessions, in which we monitor symptoms and adjust glucose levels. Each consultation session includes immediate feedback about your progress and next steps to ensure you are recovering. Total treatment time is approximately 3-5 months with no need for any further treatment following discharge.
Rehabilitation. This is for more severe, more frequent, and more complex injuries. It consists of approximately 12 consultation and rehabilitation sessions, including homework exercises. Each rehabilitation session includes immediate feedback about your progress, homework (as appropriate and usually beginning after the fourth or fifth session), and next steps to ensure you are recovering. Total treatment time is approximately 4-6 months with no need for any further treatment following discharge.
Rehabilitation and Cognitive Restructuring. This is for traumatic brain injuries, agnosia, aphasia, illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, dementia, high levels of chronic anxiety, severe depression, high suicidality or history of suicide attempts, severe addictions (including to pornography), and severe mental illness. Each session includes immediate feedback about your progress, homework, and next steps to ensure you are recovering. Total treatment time is approximately 6-9 months (may be longer for more severe injuries or complex situations) with no need for any further treatment following discharge.