Our bodies are so tough! They fall but get up immediately, they break a bone and we reset it, no biggie! And yet as flexible and resilient as we are it doesn’t take much of a fall or blow to our head to create long-lasting changes in our personalities and behavior!
When a head injury occurs most of us know if the person is ‘knocked-out’ they should go see a Doctor, or if they are bleeding from the event they should go to the hospital.
However, what we do not know is most Doctor’s and hospitals will ‘triage’ the situation. They look at the patient and think through, do they need medical care (stitches, surgery, hospitalization)…and if they are PHYSICALLY stable they are good to go…they are not usually trained to see the subtle details of a mild head injury because their job entails fixing the large components of a physical problem.
Then it seems later we discover that although that ‘motorcycle accident left him able to talk and hold a conversation’ there are now strange but noticeable issues…Even a good hit in a soccer game or a fall down the stairs can cause the most subtle changes in a brain, but these turn out to be VERY significant concerns in the person!
* Personality Changes
* Behavioral Changes
* Memory Problems
* Lack of Emotion
* Emotional Volatility
* Aggressive Behavior
* Self-Centered Attitude
* Poor Concentration
* Lack of Awareness of their Deficits
* Inappropriate Sexual Behavior
* Depression & Anxiety
* Hyper-sensitivity to Lights and Sounds
* Dizziness & Vertigo or a Balance Problem
* Fatigue or Constant Drowsiness
* Sleep Issues
* Slurred Speech at Times
* Word Finding Problems
* Nausea or Seizures
It is not necessary to have ALL these problems and there may be others that are even more subtle like not comprehending what you are reading, therefore, you have to re-read everything to understand it. Perhaps, their temper is extremely short and they were always so patient before…Or you may notice that they just ‘don’t seem themselves’ they just ‘seem off’.
These are concerns that we are noticing more and more often with our men coming back from the service, or our kids playing contact sports, or our elderly when they take a tumble.
Many of these concerns can be remediated, or ‘re-taught’.
One of the most difficult tasks for the brain to perform is called “switching” it is moving from one task to another smoothly or moving from one strategy to another, this is why people say ‘learn some thing new to strengthen the brain’.
Dopamine is released when we learn new skills. This is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that is released by nerve cells and sent to other nerve cells. It plays a major role in the brains system that is responsible for reward and motivation. Dopamine is the brain’s universal ‘chemical-signal’ for pleasure. We all know when a task seems pleasurable we will continue to do that task!
Try raising YOUR Dopamine levels by trying some of the following:
1. Learn something new! Here is a series of FREE PC games, created by an individual that has suffered through a brain injury…
2. Eating foods rich in tyrosine like; Almonds, avocados, bananas, low-fat dairy, lima beans, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are thought to help your body produce more dopamine.
3. Increasing your intake of antioxidants are thought to reduce free radical damage to the brain cells that produce dopamine. There are many fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants:
– Beta-carotene and carotenoids: Greens, orange vegetables and fruits, asparagus, broccoli, beets
– Vitamin C: Peppers, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
– Vitamin E: Nuts and sunflower seeds, greens, broccoli, carrots
4. Many foods inhibit brain function such as: refined packaged foods, refined white flour, cholesterol, caffeine, and saturated fats. I will usually say eat nothing in a box or a can, shop the perimeter of the grocery store and stay away from the inner lanes! NO artificial sweeteners!!!! Watch for your children’s food it is a common practice to reduce refined sugar by adding chemicals that kill our brains ability to function! **If you can not pronounce it do NOT eat it!
5. Exercise regularly. Exercise increases blood calcium, which stimulates Dopamine production and allows for re-uptake in your brain. Try 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming or jogging to jump-start your Dopamine. Or first thing in the morning, jump up and down, climb your stairs several times or chase yours kids, animal or spouse around the house!
6. Get plenty of sleep. Your brain uses very little Dopamine while you sleep, which helps to build up your supply naturally for the next day. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
7. THINK, SAY and BELIEVE HAPPY happy thoughts!!! Smile, laugh and giggle more every day, even if you have nothing to smile, laugh or giggle about…just going through the motion will create these wonderful endorphins!
Just another thought by Dr. Lise’
Loads of ENERGY today!!!!