Head Injury: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/23/2020

A head injury is any traumatic injury to the structures of the head, including the skull, facial bones, and brain. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one type of head injury. There may be bleeding within the brain or surrounding tissues. Bones of the skull or face may be fractured.

Signs and symptoms of head injury are extremely varied and depend on the severity of the injury, if there is brain involvement, and the specific region of the brain that is involved. Associated symptoms and signs can include

  • amnesia,
  • an inability to speak or understand language,
  • mental confusion,
  • difficulty concentrating,
  • difficulty thinking and understanding,
  • inability to create new memories,
  • inability to recognize common things,
  • abnormal laughing and crying,
  • aggression,
  • impulsivity,
  • irritability,
  • lack of restraint, or
  • persistent repetition of words or actions.

Other symptoms and signs can include

Causes of a head injury

Head injury may be caused by blows to the head or shaking of the head.

Other head injury symptoms and signs

  • Abnormal Laughing and Crying
  • Aggression
  • Amnesia
  • An Inability to Speak or Understand Language
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Blackout or Fainting
  • Bleeding Around the Eyes
  • Blurred Vision or Sensitivity to Light
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Difficulty Speaking or Slurred Speech
  • Difficulty Thinking and Understanding
  • Dilated Pupil
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Impulsivity
  • Inability to Create New Memories
  • Inability to Recognize Common Things
  • Instability or Stiff Muscles
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Restraint
  • Mental Confusion
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Persistent Repetition of Words or Actions
  • Unequal Pupils


Emotional trauma is best described as a psychological response to a deeply distressing or life-threatening experience. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.