Family and Friends

Family members and friends play an important role in the care and rehabilitation of individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Most people who have sustained a TBI recover significantly in the first few months following injury. In fact, more than 85 percent of people with a concussion, also known as a mild TBI, recover completely within weeks to months with minimal intervention.

Those with moderate, severe, or penetrating injury are also expected to make some improvement, although the recovery process in these cases may take longer and be more unpredictable. The social support friends and family give plays an important role in the recovery of those with TBI. This section is devoted to families and friends, who play a critical role in supporting the health and well-being of individuals with TBI recognizing the emotional, physical and financial toll that is so often associated with caregiving.

TBI may cause physical, cognitive and behavioral changes that can be difficult to adapt to for both the individual and family members. These changes are usually temporary, but in some cases recovery becomes a lifelong process of adjustments and accommodations for the injured person and the family. People with TBI can lead joyful and meaningful lives with the aid of friends and loved ones who can provide ongoing support and encouragement. Research has found a direct relationship between a family’s ability to adapt and cope with trauma and the patient’s success with rehabilitation and reintegration.

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Deshawn Byers kisses his daughter during a homecoming celebration for the frigate USS De Wert in Mayport, Fla., on March 10, 2012. (MC2 Jacob Sippel/Navy photo)(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist Second Class Jacob Sippel)Milder symptoms may require family members to adapt only to a few changes in their loved ones. More severe symptoms may require family members to take on the role of caregiver, or share that responsibility with others temporarily or on a continual basis.

Family members and care givers may request support from DVBIC’s TBI Recovery Support Program.

Related Content

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center

Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support

TBI Recovery Support Program

Addressing Family Needs

Taking Care of Yourself While Caring for Others

Talking With Children About TBI

Talking to Children About Moderate or Severe TBI

Explore Topics

Go to About TBI page

Nearly 1.7 million people sustain a TBI every year in America, though most recover quickly and completely.

Go to TBI Awareness and Prevention page

Not all brain injuries are preventable, but there are ways to reduce the possibility of sustaining one like always wearing a seatbelt and wearing the right helmet for each sport.

Go to Diagnosis and Assessment page

Brain injury is notoriously difficult to diagnose, but tools like MRIs, health histories, and neuropsychological evaluations can reveal a lot.

Go to Treatment and Recovery page

Most people who experience brain injury will recover quickly and with no long-term effects. For those with ongoing symptoms, treatments can range from simple rest to complex therapies.

Go to Caregiving page

When a loved one sustains a traumatic brain injury, especially a moderate to severe injury, becoming a caregiver can happen suddenly. Without warning, life for the whole family can change.

Go to Symptom Management page

A brain injury can affect a person physically and psychologically, and sometimes the symptoms — like memory problems or emotional and behavioral changes — don't appear immediately.

Go to Life After TBI page

For most people who experience a brain injury, life will return to a similar pace. But for many others, a TBI may mean months, years or even a lifetime full of changes.