What is a brain injury?
An acquired brain injury is any injury to the brain since birth. It covers damage to the brain caused by illnesses such as strokes, tumours and encephalitis but also covers damage to the brain caused by trauma. Traumatic brain injuries are, as the name suggests, injuries to the brain caused by accidents, falls or assaults.
One million people attend hospital in the UK as a result of a brain injury every year.
Half of all brain injuries are a result of a road traffic accident or collision.
20% of brain injuries are categorised as mild, 15% of these patient will have symptoms that last over a year.
Changes in mood are very common; anxiety, anger and depression are the most common
Impact of a brain injury:
The impact that any brain injury has on an individual varies on a wide range of things including the severity and location of the trauma.
Long term lasting effects of the injury will depend upon many factors including:
- What functions are or are not affected by the injury
- How severe the initial injury was and the extent of subsequent recovery
- What resources and services are available for rehabilitation
Common symptoms of mild brain injuries / concussion
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Memory difficulties
- Emotional disturbances
- Low moods
Common symptoms of moderate / severe brain injuries - in addition to mild brain injuries
- Personality changes
- Emotional dysregulation
- Trouble remembering, thinking and planning
- Difficulties with speech and language
- Motor skills issues
Psychological and emotional impact of brain injuries:
Whilst the physical impacts of a brain injury may be well understood, the emotional impacts are perhaps less well known about.
They can often by quite subtle changes and may not arise for a month or so after the brain injury. They can be a huge cause of worry and frustration for the individual and their family, once the initial shock of the trauma is dealt with having to deal with personality changes that can often be destructive in nature can seem overwhelming.
We would always advise seeking help if you are at all concerned about any changes that may have resulted from a brain injury.
What causes psychological changes following a brain injury?
The frontal lobe is part of the brain that is responsible for much of our emotional regulation.
Tolerance, impulsivity, motivation and self awareness are all controlled by this part of the brain.
Common emotional difficulties following a brain injury include:
- Anger and aggression
- Lack of awareness of others – this can lead to inappropriate behaviour
- Impulsiveness and lack of caution
- Apathy and lack of motivation
- Becoming obsessional or very inflexible
- Sexual problems
Treatment for brain injuries
The prognosis for mild and moderate brain injuries is good, with most people regaining most or all brain functioning as long as the right support is in place.
The first step is to diagnose the brain injury correctly and then a team of professionals such as psychologists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists can support the individual in their recovery and treatment.
Please click to read more about Neuro Rehabilitation.
We have a team of over 160 clinicians who are able to help assess and treat brain injuries. To arrange an appointment please call 0203 326 9160. You do not need an NHS referral.