Long Term Effects of Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS)

Typically, the average time for a concussion to resolve is about 7-9 days. However, for many people it can take weeks, months, or even years. Often symptoms that linger are persistent headaches, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), depression and many of the other symptoms listed.

There are other considerations as well. Anyone suffering from long term concussion symptoms has an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s (degenerative disease of the brain), severe clinical depression (depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, weight gain or loss, recurrent thoughts of death) disruptive sleep patterns or concentration problems.

Long term effects of PCS can be debilitating, frustrating and disruptive to daily life. What makes proper diagnosis and treatment so difficult is that many symptoms of PCS are subjective and hard to prove. Most MRI and CT scans will not show mild symptoms. Most people do not have access to neuropsychological testing, which can measure brain functioning (memory, attention, motor skills, and reaction time). Even still, neuropsychological testing cannot measure the most common symptoms of nausea, headaches, Tinnitus etc.

Further complicating proper diagnosis is the fact that often, some symptoms will resolve while others linger. It can often lead to practitioners inaccurately attributing the lingering symptom to something unrelated and innocuous. Too many people are sent home from the doctor’s office with no answers to when the symptoms may clear. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, the lingering symptoms and effects take their toll over time. While research is ongoing in many areas of concussions and post concussion syndrome, there is a clear correlation between multiple concussions and slower recovery rate. That means that a failure to diagnose and treat a concussion can lead to a player returning to the field, and possibly receiving another concussion. The compounded damage multiple concussions cause has been widely covered in the media. You can read some of the media coverage¬† here.