What is Post-Traumatic Amnesia?

Anytime a person experiences a traumatic event, their body is likely to undergo various types of temporary or long-term changes. Post-traumatic amnesia can occur after a person experiences unconsciousness, regains consciousness, and then struggles to form continuous day-to-day memories. The definition of post-traumatic amnesia has been expanded to explain the state of disorientation to time, place, and person that someone experiences after a period of unconsciousness. Here, we want to more thoroughly examine PTA and how it can affect individuals.

Post-Traumatic Amnesia

Post-Traumatic Amnesia After a Brain Injury

Post-traumatic amnesia typically occurs after a person sustains a head injury and goes into a coma. Often, when a brain injury survivor emerges from a coma, they will typically have very little to no short-term memory. Individuals may be disoriented, angry, impulsive, agitated, and incredibly emotional. An individual may not have any inhibitions, and they could display a complete disregard for social conventions. A person with PTA may act like a child and exhibit bizarre behavior that is nothing like their usual personality.

When a person experiences post-traumatic amnesia, this can be very stressful for their family members. However, it is important to understand that PTA is a normal part of the healing process after a brain injury and coma.

In the past, medical professionals defined PTA as a person being unable to form new day-to-day memories. However, the definition of PTA has broadened to include a person’s disorientation to place, time, and person. Survivors in these cases may not even understand who they are, where they are, or what is happening to them. They may be unable to recall very basic information, including their own name, where they grew up, or the current president.

Family members of those suffering from post-traumatic amnesia should consult with their loved one’s doctor to understand how this process works. A doctor will be able to explain that memory is the slowest part of consciousness to recover after an injury occurs to the brain. It can take weeks or even months for a brain injury survivor to be able to routinely store and create new memories. As a general rule of thumb, post-traumatic amnesia lasts approximately three to four times longer than the coma preceding it. For example, if a coma lasted a week, then the PTA may last three to four weeks.

However, it could certainly be the case that an individual who experiences PTA may not make a full recovery. Anytime a person has experienced enough brain trauma to put them in a coma, this is certainly enough damage to cause long-term complications.

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has suffered from post-traumatic amnesia as a result of a brain injury caused by the negligence of another individual or entity, you need to work with an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled Portland brain injury lawyer can conduct a complete investigation into the incident and determine liability. They will work diligently to calculate all losses associated with the injury, including the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the post-traumatic amnesia. A lawyer will handle all negotiations with at-fault parties and their insurance carrier to recover compensation all behalf of an injury victim and their family members.