Post-concussion syndrome contains many features that are seen in psychological conditions. Ten percent of concussion patients experience symptoms lasting longer than three months. Diagnosis is based on the Diagnostic and Statistics Manuel (DSM-IV), analyzing cognitive deficits in memory and attention. There must be at least three of the following symptoms: fatigue, sleep disturbance, headache, dizziness, irritability, affective disturbance, apathy or personality changes.
Chemical Cascade in concussions
When a concussion occurs, there are numerous impacts on the chemicals and internal electrical activity in the brain that cannot be repaired without proper treatment. Major issues include altered blood flow in the brain; inflammation in the brain; altered communication between brain cells; and much more. These effects can lead to an energy crisis in the brain, influencing functionality and making it exponentially more vulnerable to a second injury.
Secondary impact syndrome
Secondary Impact Syndrome (SIS) is when an individual has sustained an initial brain injury, and while still symptomatic, sustains another brain injury. The second blow may occur minutes, days, or weeks after the initial injury, and even the mildest grade of concussion can lead to SIS. Issues arise when injured individuals are unwilling or unable to accurately self-report the severity of symptoms. For example, they may take more time to process information, or have issues with impulse and emotion control. These critical symptoms often go unnoticed. Consequences of the second blow are often disproportionate to the severity of insult, and cause prolonged recovery and long-term neurological impairments.