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Acquired Brain Injury


An Acquired Brain Injury refers to damage to the brain that occurs after birth (with the exception of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - FASD) rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder. CDDH. It usually affects cognitive, physical, emotional, social or independent functioning.  The terms head injury, acquired brain damage (ABD) and acquired brain injury (ABI) are used to describe all types of brain damage which occur after birth. The damage to the brain may result from a traumatic brain injury such as an accident, fall, assault or non-traumatic injury such as stroke, infection or substance abuse, tumour, poisoning, near drowning. Most definitions of acquired brain injury exclude neurodegenerative disorders and diseases of the brain such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Over 500,000 Australians have an Acquired Brain Injury.

  • Three out every four people with acquired brain injury are under age 65

  • Two out of every three of these people acquired their brain injury before age 25

  • Three out of every four people with acquired brain injury are men

The leading cause of Acquired Brain Injury is stroke, where the supply of blood to the brain is stopped by a clot or bleeding. The second largest cause is accident or trauma. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of acquired brain injury caused by a blow or force applied to the head (e.g. motor vehicle accident, fall, assault or sporting accident).

An acquired brain injury is a complex and individual condition. The brain controls every part of our being physically, intellectually and emotionally. So when the brain is injured some other part of ourselves will also be affected. A brain injury has dramatically different effects on different people. Even a mild injury can result in a serious disability that will interfere with a person’s daily functioning and personal activities, often for the rest of their life.

People with a brain injury can experience a range of disabilities that may affect them long-term. These include medical difficulties; changes in physical and sensory abilities; changes in the ability to think (their thoughts) and learn (cognition); changes in behaviour (actions) and personality (psychological) and feelings (their emotions). They may also have difficulty controlling, coordinating and communicating their thoughts and actions. They may or may not retain their intellectual abilities, depending on the type and extent of the injury.

However, the intellectual abilities of a person with a brain injury are likely to be interfered with by the thought coordination and communication difficulties, which can make it difficult for them to express themselves in a manner that is understood by others. This may give the impression of a damage to intellectual abilities, in people with normal intellectual capacity. It is common for people with a brain injury to tire more quickly, find it more difficult to concentrate and to remember information (a difficulty with short-term memory).


Brain Injury Australia 2012, CDDH 2012

Last Modified: 19/10/2017 9:24 AM