Fighting for a Diagnosis

Many individuals with a brain injury are faced with the daunting and exhausting task of navigating the services system, sometimes in the presence of challenges with organization, motivation, planning, and memory. Brain injury symptoms are often not seen by the naked eye or masked by other conditions such as mental health.

Physical Changes

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness/Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty with sleep
  • Tremors
  • Balance & coordination
  • Sensory processing
  • Spasticity & muscle tone

Cognitive Changes

  • Processing
  • Memory
  • Initiation
  • Motivation
  • Planning
  • Decision-making
  • Language
  • Reciprocity

Emotional/Behavioral Changes

  • Regulation
  • Congruence & lability
  • Impulsivity
  • Affect & expression
  • Mental health (anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc.)
  • Substance misuse (coping or medicating effects)

Lisa Prins talks about The Exhaustion of Fighting with Doctors for a Diagnosis remarking that:

“Patients are often presumed healthy until they “prove” otherwise. Because they are presumed healthy, they have to jump through hoops just to get a test done or get a referral to a specialist. It’s a never-ending fight to be treated with dignity, caring and respect.”

It can be an uphill battle trying to get a diagnosis for brain injury. Doctors and rehabilitation professionals are there to help and do a fantastic job with the tools and experience that they have. Sometimes there is a disconnect that often makes individuals and family members frustrated with the lack of information or feeling like their voice is not being heard. Here are some tips for you to help in the process of getting a diagnosis so that you or your loved one can access the correct services.

Lauren Costello