The Consequences of ABI

Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, the consequences of a brain injury can range from quite subtle, such as temporary impairments in thinking and behaviour, to permanent cognitive impairments and personality changes which can be devastating for both the injured person and their family and friends.

In the early weeks following a brain injury there will almost certainly be profound physical difficulties. Some of these will be overcome in the following months, some will take much longer and some will be permanent.

Research indicates that around 90 per cent of severely-injured people overcome most of their physical difficulties within the first year.

Physical problems usually result from localised damage either due to a blood clot pressurising the brain or by a penetrating or open injury. Physical problems include difficulties with movement, such as: weakness or semi-paralysis on the non-injured side of the body; balance and co-ordination; speaking and swallowing disorders; and loss of sensation in terms of taste, smell or body temperature.

Problems common to all brain injuries include headaches and fatigue and post-traumatic epilepsy.

Although physical difficulties can present problems, it is the cognitive difficulties and personality changes that are the most distressing, since these have a greater impact on social, work and family life.

Remember, the nature of brain injury is unique and not all of these problems will be experienced by everyone.