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Innovative Health Care Magazine

79 InnovativeHealthMag.com Because the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) vary so wildly, they can be difficult to diagnose. Sometimes TBI is obvious. People who sustained visible head wounds, or lost consciousness for a significant period of time, might be diagnosed with brain injuries may right away. But someone can suffer a TBI and not have any of those outward signs. Also, the symptoms of TBI can mirror those of other psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, complicating specific diagnoses even further. For these patients, the proper diagnosis can mean the difference between receiving the medical and psychological intervention they need, or remaining untreated. Dr. Nida Hamid is all too familiar with the challenges facing someone with a traumatic brain injury. As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Consulting Neuropsychologist, Dr. Hamid has spent years studying the relationship between the brain and behavior. One of the things she specializes in is neuropsychological evaluations, which allow a clinician to characterize cognitive and behavioral changes and determine whether they are a result of psychological issues, injury, or central nervous system disease. Changes can include things like memory loss, difficulty concentrating, trouble communicating, poor impulse control, or problems with decision-making. Many times, a patient is completely unaware of the changes that have taken place and how everyday life has been affected. Using neuropsychological evaluations, Dr. Hamid can determine the underlying cause of cognitive and behavioral changes and prescribe an appropriate treatment. Treatment is much more likely to be effective because the root of the problem is being addressed. Traumatic Brain Injuries are unique because unlike a broken bone or laceration, the brain can’t be placed in a cast or receive stiches. Very little can be done to repair the actual damage done to the brain after an injury, so after a patient is stabilized the focus is on rehabilitation. Neuropsychologists and psychologists like Dr. Hamid play critical roles in the rehabilitative process. In addition to diagnosing the underlying causes of patient’s symptoms, neuropsychological evaluations also provide a snapshot of where a patient’s strengths and weaknesses are, so that a personalized brain rehabilitation program can be created. Dr. Hamid takes a holistic approach to each patient, and considers the individual in multiple aspects. By “incorporating premorbid and post-incident factors, to formulate a comprehensive and accurate picture,” she can apply whatever variety of treatments a patient requires. In addition to her work as a diagnostician, Dr. Hamid also works with patients to help them address the issues caused by their TBI. According to Dr. Hamid, brain injury rehabilitation involves “two essential processes: restoration of functions that can be restored and learning how to do things differently when functions cannot be restored to pre-injury level.” Brain recovery follows patterns of brain development and can be seen months or even years after the injury has taken place. Sometimes areas of the brain that are not normally associated with a specific function begin performing that task, or depressed areas that are linked to an injured area begin functioning again. Other times a patient learns new behavioral strategies for coping with a deficiency. Each individual is different, and there is no way to predict the degree of recovery. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.5-million people suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. These injuries are caused by everything from car accidents to contact sports and falls. The CDC estimates that there are more than 5.3-million Americans living with disabilities caused by TBI. While many of these people might never fully recover, work by psychologists and neuropsychologists like Dr. Hamid gives each patient as many opportunities as possible to move past their injury and live a full and productive life. Instead of being isolated and unable to cope with the changes caused by their injury, patients receive sympathetic and wise counsel from Dr. Hamid about what he or she is experiencing. She gives the patient and family the tools and support they need to overcome the obstacles in their path. Nida Hamid, Psy.D., P.L.L.C. Behavioral & Neuropsychological Consultants 1740 W. Big Beaver Rd • Suite #206 Troy MI 48084 248.385.5756 /www.nidahamidpsyd.com/ “ Traumatic Brain Injuries are unique because unlike a broken bone or laceration, the brain can’t be placed in a cast or receive stiches “ I


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