Definitions and Terms Used for Brain Injury
The term acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any damage to the brain occurring after birth. There are a range of different types of ABI including:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – damage due to impact e.g. road trauma, falls, assaults and sporting injury
- Other causes of ABI include stroke, hypoxic injuries where the brain does not have enough oxygen, brain tumours, encephalitis, meningitis, drug and alcohol abuse.
- Degenerative neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, are also a type of ABI.
Frequency of Occurrence of Brain Injury
Brain Injury is a common condition, with approximately 1 in 40 Australians living with an ABI.
Impact of Brain Injury
The brain in complex and no two brain injuries are the same. For many, the injury can not be seen and for these people their ‘normal’ appearance hides the challenges they have. A brain injury can cause lots of new challenges and changes for the individual, their family and support network.
Features of Brain Injury
People with ABI may experience:
- Cognitive difficulties, such as difficulty processing information, reasoning and problem solving and focussing
- Memory difficulties
- Sensitivity with sensory input such as noise and light
- Difficulty regulating emotions
- Physical changes
Together, these challenges impact a person’s independence, social engagement, work, family roles, mental health, identify and overall quality of life.
Good News in Brain Injury Management
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s way to rewire itself in response to what has happened and people can make lots of progress after ABI. Progress typically occurs most quickly in the first 12 months after the injury, but our brains remain plastic and capable of change right across the lifespan. People can continue to make gains many years post-injury.
Important in Assistance Provided
Support networks play an important role in helping people to adapt to life post-injury.
Many people with ABI find connecting with others with lived experience of this condition to be helpful.
Family, friends, therapists and other professionals can all play a crucial role in supporting the person with the ABI to adjust to their injury and find a sense of purpose, and establish a meaningful and fulfilling life. For some this means returning to previous employment and life roles, for others it means enjoying a new path.
To learn more, visit the Synapse’s website fact sheets section for a range of information that can help explain the impacts of Brain Injury.
Watch Video: Living with a Brain Injury
– How Brain Injury SA Offers Services and Support
Video Transcript coming soon.