What is an Acquired Brain Injury?
Acquired brain injury is defined by the United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF) as follows:
A non-degenerative injury to the brain that has occurred since birth. It can be caused by an external physical force or by metabolic derangement. The term ‘acquired brain injury’ includes traumatic brain injuries such as open or closed head injuries and non-traumatic injuries such as those caused by strokes and other vascular accidents, tumours, infectious diseases, hypoxia, metabolic disorder (eg liver and kidney diseases or diabetic coma) and toxic products taken into the body through inhalation or ingestion. Currently the term does not include brain injuries that are congenital or produced by birth trauma.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is therefore an unexpected event which occurs at any time after birth to an otherwise healthy person and can be a devastating event for the person who has suffered the injury and their family. Brain Injuries come in many varieties and levels of severity but whatever the physical damage suffered, the effects can be deeply felt. “Mild ABI” and “Moderate ABI” are both terms which are used by the medical profession when describing the seriousness of the injury, but they do not take into consideration the wide ranging effects even a mild to moderate injury can have. The focus of care is obviously on the patient but the feelings being experience by the family can often be overlooked, which is why Headway West Sussex also offers support to families and carers.
What are the effects?
There are the obvious physical effects such as paralysis, loss of speech and coma but then there are the less obvious, the ones that are not visible and they may include:-
- Memory Loss
- Problems with Concentration
- Inability to make Decisions
- Extreme Fatigue
- Mood Swings
- Fear (of it happening again)
- Loss of identity
Headway, The Brain Injury Association
Headway have a series of factsheets that can be downloaded, including:-
All of the topics are also covered more fully in booklet form, which are available to buy
from The Headway Shop.