New Year’s and Brain Injury

New Year’s Eve is generally celebrated with laughter, noise and merriment.  However, there are a few pitfalls that brain injury survivors may encounter during these celebrations that they will want to watch out for.

It is typical to serve alcoholic beverages at New Year’s Eve celebrations.  However, drinking alcohol is almost always a bad idea for brain injury survivors unless a doctor has approved of it.  Alcohol may effect a brain injury survivor more quickly, strongly or drastically than it would have effected the same individual pre-injury.  Alcohol mixes poorly with medications and can cause serious medical complications.  Furthermore, the effects of alcohol consumption (such as an inability to sustain concentration and trouble walking) may put the survivor at particular risk for another injury.

Many New Year’s parties include noise makers, loud music and large crowds of people.  Some brain injury survivors find themselves more sensitive to noises and crowds than they did previous to their injury.  Situations containing these things may cause the survivor significant agitation or distress.  If a brain injury survivor experiences these sorts of difficulties, it may be worth skipping certain celebrations, changing methods of celebration and/or formulating a plan beforehand to manage pr0blematic situations that may arise at any such celebration.

Another issue arises from the fact that people typically stay up quite late on New Year’s Eve.  Brain injury survivors generally do best to maintain a strict daily schedule.  Brain injury survivors and their loved ones should carefully consider whether risking any possible problems due to a change in schedule is worth the practice of waiting up until midnight for the new year.  Some survivors choose to celebrate New Years’ Eve a few hours early so as to be able to maintain the same sleep-wake schedule.

These are a few issues for brain injury survivors and their families to consider.  I would like to wish everyone a healthy and a happy New Year!

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: tlcrehab.org

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