What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome and How Do You Deal with It?

If you’ve recently suffered a concussion and are experiencing some lingering symptoms, you may have heard your doctor mention the term “post-concussion syndrome” or PCS. It usually doesn’t last but can be difficult to diagnose, and there is no cure—only treatment. And while the symptoms linger, they can be disruptive at best and debilitating at worst. Let’s explore this rather enigmatic condition a bit further—what causes it, what the symptoms may be, ways to cope with it, and what to do if PCS results in extended treatment costs and lost income.

Post-Concussion Syndrome Defined

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) describes a set of symptoms or complications that linger for weeks or months after a concussion. Researchers estimate that PCS occurs in between 5 and 30 percent of concussion patients. Before we talk about the different symptoms of PCS, let’s first try to differentiate it from the concussion itself.

A concussion is a mild type of traumatic brain injury that occurs after an impact or blow to the head. The concussion symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, memory issues, and more. Most of these symptoms (if they occur) resolve after a few days in most people, but when complications linger for weeks or months—or if new symptoms emerge—that’s when your doctor may suspect PCS has set in.

What Are the Symptoms of PCS?

PCS can produce a wide range of symptoms, which is one reason why it can be difficult to diagnose. If you have PCS, you may experience several of the following symptoms, among others:

  • Persistent/recurrent headaches
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Sleep issues (e.g., insomnia, excessive drowsiness, irregular sleep patterns)
  • Cognitive issues (e.g., memory loss, “brain fog,” difficulty concentrating)
  • Emotional issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, symptoms similar to PTSD)
  • Personality changes (e.g., increased volatility, unusual sense of apathy, lack of inhibition)

While there’s no single test to identify PCS definitively, most doctors will at least suspect PCS if you show a minimum of three of the symptoms above. They may also run imaging tests like MRIs to rule out other, more serious brain conditions.

How Is It Treated?

Because there’s no cure for PCS, treatment is all about managing the symptoms. One of the most effective ways to manage PCS is rest—both physical rest and cognitive rest (avoiding situations with a lot of visual/audio stimuli). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help you manage unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors that may be exacerbating your symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend medications like sleep aids and antidepressants, which can help you cope with your symptoms.

If you suspect you have Post-Concussion Syndrome, it’s important to get an official diagnosis from a doctor, especially if your symptoms require extended medical treatment or prohibit you from working. If the concussion occurred due to someone else’s negligence, like a car accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation for the treatment of PCS, as well as any lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. The lawyers at Accident Defenders are highly experienced in helping injured accident victims get the compensation they need and deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 323-818-HURT or fill out our online contact form.


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