An acquired brain injury is brain damage caused by events after birth, rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder. These include strokes, brain illness and other brain injuries. They differ from degenerative brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Some of the effects that a brain injury can have include:
- Cognitive effects, like memory problems, difficulty concentrating, poor planning and judgment skills, language difficulties, and a lack of problem-solving skills
- Sensory effects, like altered visual or spatial perception, or reduced sense of touch, vision or hearing
- Emotional effects, like being impulsive, risky behavior, depression, anxiety, aggression or paranoia
- Physical effects, like severe headaches, seizures, poor coordination and balance, slurred speech, and being unable to move
Brain injuries can be traumatic, caused by an external force, or non-traumatic, caused by internal events. A blow to the head or a penetrating head injury most often happens during falls, motor vehicle accidents, abuse or assault, and being struck by or against something. Internal events that cause brain injury include stroke, infection, or anoxia and hypoxia.
All types of brain injury are serious and can be life altering. Recovery often looks identical between different types of brain injury. Although there is no complete cure, many people recover and regain much of their abilities through therapy and treatment, or they adapt to and cope with their new limitations. The good news is that almost all brain injuries are preventable.