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The Traumatized Brain

, 224 pages

9 line drawings

September 2015



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The Traumatized Brain

A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior after Brain Injury



A traumatic brain injury is a life-changing event, affecting an individual’s lifestyle, ability to work, relationships—even personality. Whatever caused it—car crash, work accident, sports injury, domestic violence, combat—a severe blow to the head results in acute and, often, lasting symptoms. People with brain injury benefit from understanding, patience, and assistance in recovering their bearings and functioning to their full abilities.

In The Traumatized Brain, neuropsychiatrists Drs. Vani Rao and Sandeep Vaishnavi—experts in helping people heal after head trauma—explain how traumatic brain injury, whether mild, moderate, or severe, affects the brain. They advise readers on how emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mania, and apathy can be treated; how behavioral symptoms such as psychosis, aggression, impulsivity, and sleep disturbances can be addressed; and how cognitive functions like attention, memory, executive functioning, and language can be improved. They also discuss headaches, seizures, vision problems, and other neurological symptoms of traumatic brain injury.

By stressing that symptoms are real and are directly related to the trauma, Rao and Vaishnavi hope to restore dignity to people with traumatic brain injury and encourage them to ask for help. Each chapter incorporates case studies and suggestions for appropriate medications, counseling, and other treatments and ends with targeted tips for coping. The book also includes a useful glossary, a list of resources, and suggestions for further reading.

Vani Rao, MBBS, MD, is an associate professor and the director of the Brain Injury Clinic and the Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Fellowship Program within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Sandeep Vaishnavi, MD, PhD, is the director of the Neuropsychiatric Clinic at Carolina Partners. He is a neuropsychiatrist at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Duke University Medical Center, and is affiliated with Duke’s Departments of Psychiatry and Community and Family Medicine.

"We can thank Drs. Rao and Vaishnavi for this remarkable contribution to patients, families, and clinicians. Few professionals, doctors included, know how to deliver their highly informed knowledge and experience in ways that lay readers can comprehend and use."

"Individuals who have experienced a TBI, as well as their families, will find this book useful and comforting, both for its clear explanations and its clinical guidance."

"The Traumatized Brain puts victims and their families back in command: rewiring the brain, reshaping behaviors, inspiring compassion, and restoring one’s sense of self."

"An approachably human and effectively informative book on a complicated and painful injury."

" The Traumatized Brain is a great resource for anyone with a loved one who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Whether you’re a caregiver, co-worker, friend, or survivor, this book is filled with useful information to help you understand and be prepared for the different symptoms of TBI and how TBI affects the brain."

"This book will challenge and encourage the reader. Whether an interested lay person, a caretaker, a family member, or a professional in the medical, nursing, or social work fields, readers will find this pioneering book a useful guide to the complexities of traumatic brain injury."

"If ever there was a book that truly could save your life it would be this one. Drs. Rao and Vaishnavi have written a critical manual for parents, family, essentially anyone, to help recognize and explain the warning signs of a TBI. Without visible symptoms, sufferers have long remained silent or been deemed 'crazy,' but this important book not only details the physiological, cognitive and behavioral changes in the brain, it offers hope through treatment."

"We are faced with an epidemic of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among victims of sports, accidents, and wars. The cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of such injuries are varied and complex. Using a contemporary understanding of cognitive neuroscience and a gift for distilling complex ideas, Drs. Rao and Vaishnavi present a clear and coherent picture of TBI. Informed by their own substantial clinical expertise, they also offer practical advice, making this guide essential reading for caregivers and family members as well as the general clinical practitioner."

"Doctors Rao and Vaishnavi have written a valuable and timely book that is long overdue.  It contains not only an excellent summary of TBI and its effects, but also strategies to deal with those effects. I highly recommend this excellent book."

" The Traumatized Brain remains a valuable resource for brain-injured clients and their caregivers, and it can help bridge the language reference gap between providers and patients."

"Authors Vani Rao and Sandeep Vaishnavi write with a sense of warmth and care that is certain to help those who want to learn more about a timely subject...very accessible for a wide range of readers and an excellent resource."

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