Frontal lobe injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, lesions caused by disease, tumors, and reactions to drug or alcohol abuse. The frontal lobe is a particularly important and complex part of the brain. Symptoms of frontal lobe injuries may be highly variable and could include everything from poor impulse control to aphasia, where the patient has difficulty speaking and formulating words. Treatment for such injuries may involve neurologists, psychiatrists, rehabilitation therapists, and a variety of other medical professionals. Some patients require hospitalization while they receive treatment while others may be able to recover at home, sometimes with the assistance of a home health aide.
Patients with frontal lobe injuries may exhibit poor judgment and difficulty speaking. Some patients have difficulty forming and retrieving memories and may also develop uncoordinated muscle movements. Emotional outbursts and difficulty with emotional regulation can also be issues for such patients. A doctor may evaluate the patient, recommend medical imaging, and perform blood tests to learn more about what is going wrong in the patient's brain.
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One potential cause of a front lobe injury is a traumatic brain injury, which may be open or closed. In an open, also called penetrating, brain injury, something penetrates the skull, exposing the contents. A bullet wound, for example, is an open injury, as the passage of the bullet through the skull creates a hole. Closed head injuries involve trauma to the brain without making a break in the skull, as when a patient falls and the brain slams against the inside of the skull. Both can be challenging to treat.
Disease can also be a factor in frontal lobe injuries. Degenerating brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkison's as well as neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis are an issue. Patients can also develop infected abscesses in the brain as a result of persistent and aggressive infections. Cerebrovascular disease can be an issue as well; the patient may be at risk of stroke and other complications as a result of damaged blood vessels in the skull.
Certain mental illnesses can be associated with frontal lobe trauma, like schizophrenia. In some cases, the treatments for mental illnesses are a potential risk factor. Electroconvulsive therapy, for example, is linked with frontal lobe injuries. Hydrocephalus, where fluid builds up in the skull and puts pressure on the brain, is also a potential type of frontal lobe injury. Patients can also develop issues with the frontal lobe as a result of drug overdose or chronic drug abuse.