Brain injury awareness week is upon us. There are many causes for acquired brain injuries, some of the most common include:
Meningitis - inflammation of the meninges (protective layer around brain & spinal cord)
Brain tumour - a growth of cells in the brain multiplying abnormally
Stroke - blocked blood vessel
Haemorrhagic stroke - ruptured blood vessel
Cerebral aneurysm - weakened artery, sometimes leading to a rupture
Concussion and minor head injury - being unconscious for 15 minutes or less
Traumatic brain injury - road traffic accidents, a fall or an assault
There are a huge range of potential long-term effects of suffering a brain injury, including (but not exclusive to):
Behavioural - this can take the form of a loss of control over behaviour or an increase in obsessive behaviour, increased impulsiveness, increased apathy, aggression or self-centredness.
Cognitive - this includes memory loss, a reduction in concentration, reduced ability to process information or difficulties in recognition of faces, objects or places and an impaired empathy.
Communication problems - this can be problems in understanding language and expressing themselves and speech difficulties
Executive dysfunction - this affects such things as multitasking, organisation and planning, making decisions, controlling emotions, learning rules and self-awareness.
Emotional - manifesting itself in personality changes, mood swing, anger and frustration and mental health issues such as PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Physical - sometime there can be an effect to the person's mobility, such as less balance, slower reactions, stiff limbs and tremors.
Finally, imbalances of hormones is also common, which can cause many of the aforementioned difficulties, such as depression and mood swings, as well as fatigue, headaches, difficulties in sex, constipation, menstrual cycle changes, weight gain and low blood pressure.