According to the World Health Organisation, acquired brain injury can be defined as:
Damage to the brain, which occurs after birth and is not related to a congenital or a degenerative disease. These impairments may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.
The brain is incredibly complex. We have to keep in mind that each brain injury can be as complex as the brain itself. A blow to one side of the head can potentially cause damage on the opposite side or even throughout the brain. While some people may be physically disabled, the large majority have only ‘hidden’ disabilities, which are less easy to observe and, as a result, lead to misunderstanding.
A person with a brain injury may find it very difficult to relate to people, to carry out tasks which make him or her employable, and to remember life before their accident, and may well seem a different person to those around him or her. Please click below to explore different brain regions.
The effects of a brain injury can be wide ranging, and depending on a number of factors, such as the type, location and severity of injury. Every person’s injury is unique, so they will experience any number of symptoms which can range from mild to severe.
Cognitive effects of brain injury
The cognitive effects of a brain injury affect the way a person thinks, learns and remembers. Different mental abilities are located in different parts of the brain, so an injury can damage some, but not necessarily all, skills such as speed of thought, memory, understanding and concentration, solving problems and using language.
Executive Dysfunction after brain injury
Executive dysfunction is a term for the range of cognitive, emotional and behavioural difficulties which occur after injury to the frontal lobes of the brain. Impairment of executive functions is common after acquired brain injury and has a profound effect on many aspects of everyday life.
Emotional and behavioural effects of brain injury
Everyone who has had a head injury can be left with some changes in emotional reaction and behaviour. These are more difficult to see than the more obvious problems such as those which affect movement or speech, for example, but can be the most difficult for the individual concerned and their family to deal with.
Physical effects of brain injury
Most people make an excellent physical recovery after a brain injury, which can mean there are few, or no outward signs that an injury has occurred. There are often physical problems present that are not always so apparent, but can have a real impact on daily life.
Hormonal imbalances and pituitary dysfunction after brain injury
Brain injury may occasionally cause damage to the hypothalamus and/or pituitary gland, which can lead to insufficient or increased release of one or more hormones.