Everyone reacts to the trauma of a car accident differently. Some people may feel like they have brain fog or have trouble believing the accident actually happened. Others might not be able to stop thinking about it, replaying the accident over and over in their minds.
Some people might feel like nothing has changed at all. Car accident injuries can be very sneaky. People often think they are OK immediately after the accident, but then wake up in severe pain the next day. Sometimes, it can even take weeks for symptoms to present themselves.
One symptom that you should always take seriously is excessive sleeping, or hypersomnia. Hypersomnia can be a symptom of many injuries and disorders, the most concerning of which is traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Causes of Excessive Sleeping
There are many reasons why you might be excessively tired after a car accident. Your doctor will likely evaluate you for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s common for people who have been in a car crash to develop these disorders, and all of them can cause excessive sleepiness.
Some people suffer from insomnia after a car accident. You may feel that it’s difficult to get your mind to settle down, or pain from injuries you sustained in the crash might be keeping you awake. If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, your fatigue may be a result of not getting enough rest.
If these other causes are ruled out, your doctor might conclude that your hypersomnia is due to a traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries can range in severity, but they are always serious. The most severe cases can cause permanent damage or even death.
Why TBI Causes Excessive Sleepiness
Doctors do not completely understand why brain injuries can cause excessive sleeping, but there are several theories. We know that even a mild concussion can cause changes in the parts of the brain that regulate the sleep-wake cycle, so damage to these areas may change your ability to stay awake when needed.
People who have had concussions often say that every action feels more difficult, from remembering people’s names to thinking of the right word to say. When every thought is a struggle, the additional mental exertion can quickly exhaust you as well.
Consequences of Fatigue
You may experience three types of fatigue following a brain injury. They are:
- Physical fatigue, where you feel tired and need to rest
- Psychological fatigue, where you just don’t feel like doing anything
- Mental fatigue, where you have a hard time focusing on anything
Suffering from these three types of fatigue can make living your life feel overwhelming. You may be unable to work or drive a car. You might not be able to do the things you used to enjoy or perform simple tasks to take care of yourself.
Other Symptoms of TBI
Although sleep disturbances are an extremely common side effect of brain injuries, they often appear in conjunction with other symptoms. These symptoms of TBI include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Changes in mood, behavior, or personality
- Difficulty with motor skills
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
Treatment for brain injuries depends on the severity of injury and the types of symptoms. Less severe TBIs may be treated with rest and monitoring. More severe TBIs might be treated with medication, surgery, or rehabilitation, or a combination of the three.
In all cases, recovery will be slow and gradual. Your doctor may instruct you to stay home from work and limit physical and cognitive activities. Patients with very severe TBIs may require the help of rehabilitative services in order to re-learn how to walk, talk, or perform other basic daily activities.
Get Help from a Worcester Brain Injury Lawyer
In cases of traumatic brain injury, excessive sleeping after a car accident may be just the tip of the iceberg. If a TBI has made it difficult for you or a loved one to live life or earn a living, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.
At the law offices of Peter Ventura, we specialize in helping the victims of traumatic brain injuries and car accidents recover damages to help pay for surgeries, in-home care, rehabilitation centers, and other expenses related to TBI treatment. For a free and confidential consultation with neurological injury attorney Peter Ventura, please contact our office today.