Progress
Back to top

About Brain Injury

The long-term effects of a brain injury or disorder are different for each person, and will vary depending on the type of condition, the nature and location of the injury, and various other factors. The impacts of brain injury are also experienced by family and friends, particularly when the injury has resulted in personality or behaviour change.

Brain injuries are often called the ‘hidden disability’ because, although people can experience significant changes in how they think, feel and relate to others, there may be no outward physical signs of injury. As a result, the problems caused by brain injury can be easily ignored or misunderstood by others.

Need a copy of this article?

You can download a PDF version to print and use as required.

Causes of brain injury

Acquired brain injury (ABI) generally refers to injuries sustained after birth. These include incidents that result an in interruption of blood or oxygen supply to the brain or traumatic external force to the head. Injuries sustained by infants in the womb such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are also considered an ABI.

Brain injury also occurs through degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and  Parkinson’s disease. Brain tumours, infections or brain diseases like Meningitis and Encephalitis can also result in brain injury. Degenerative disorders can have similar impacts to ABI, but their different characteristics may need specialist support.

Learn more about the causes of brain injury and brain disorders

Effects of brain injury

The long-term effects of a brain injury or disorder are different for each person, and will vary depending on the type of condition, the nature and location of the injury, and other factors. For example, while degenerative disorders typically impact the body’s ability to control movement, other brain injuries may have an impact on cognition, personality and behaviour.

Cognitive effects

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty problem-solving
  • Poor concentration and attention
  • Reduced ability to organise and plan
  • Lack of initiative and motivation
  • Lack of insight and awareness, and poor judgement

Read more

Physical effects

  • Movement disorders and paralysis
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Eyesight, hearing and speech problems
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Headaches
  • Chronic pain
  • Fatigue and sleep disorders
  • Hormonal changes

Read more

Behavioural effects

  • Irritability and anger
  • Slowed responses
  • Poor social skills
  • Impulsive behaviour and/or a lack of emotional control
  • Disinhibition

Read more

Mental effects

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Personality disorders

Read more

Secondary effects

The interaction of impacts can result in additional secondary changes such as:

  • Changes to living arrangements
  • Reduced or changed social networks
  • Different vocational capabilities
  • Altered relationships and family dynamics