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Moderate brain injury

Moderate brain injury is defined as loss of consciousness for between 15 minutes and 6 hours, or a period of post-traumatic amnesia of up to 24 hours.

The patient can be kept in hospital overnight for observation, and then discharged if there are no further obvious medical injuries. Patients with moderate head injury are likely to suffer from a number of residual symptoms.

The most commonly reported symptoms include tiredness, headaches and dizziness (physical effects) difficulties with thinking, attention, memory planning, organising, concentration and word-finding problems (cognitive effects) and irritability (an emotional and behavioural problem). These symptoms are accompanied by understandable worry and anxiety. This can be particularly pronounced if the patient has not been warned that these problems are likely to arise. If the patient expects to be perfectly well within a few days and symptoms are still prominent after a few weeks, they may worry or feel guilty. This has the effect of creating a vicious circle leading to more symptoms and so on.

A large proportion of people find that when they return to work they have difficulties and feel that they are not functioning at their highest level. For the majority of people these residual symptoms gradually improve, although this can sometimes take 6 to 9 months.