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Effects Of Brain Injury

The effects of brain injury are potentially greatly disabling and disturbing for many. No two people to suffer a brain injury will have the same problems. Similar problems maybe, but not the same. 

The effects can be broken down into three areas: Physical, Cognitive and Emotional/behavioural.


  •       Paralysis, the inability to move a part of the body resulting in a reduction in mobility and ability. 
  •       Poor motor control and co-ordination, this is known as Ataxia. Fine motor movements such as being able to bring a spoon           to the mouth are made difficult by a persistent shake.
  •       Hearing impairment
  •       Loss of taste 
  •       Loss of smell
  •       Visual Difficulties
  •       Sensational loss - loss of feeling
  •       Balance problems
  •       Fatigue, poor stamina, need for sleep, tire easily
  •       Sexual difficulties
  •       Epilepsy


  •       Awareness
  •       Concentration
  •       Comprehension
  •       Memory
  •       Planning
  •       Speed of information processing
  •       Initiation (getting started)
  •       Organisation
  •       Sequencing
  •       Staying on task/ ignoring distractions
  •       Making judgements
  •       Inhibiting behaviour
  •       Problem solving
  •       Dividing attention
  •       Multi tasking
  •       Stopping
  •       Assessing/evaluating/interpreting
  •       Reasoning
  •       Flexible thinking
  •       Learning new skills
  •       Calculating

Emotional/ Behavioural

  •       Intolerance
  •       Anger outbursts
  •       Mood swings, instability
  •       Emotional liability - crying /laughing easily
  •       Lack of empathy
  •       Apathetic
  •       Disinhibition - social and sexual
  •       Anxiety
  •       Inflexibility
  •       Obsessional

The effects of any of the above will have serious affects not just the person with the brain injury but also the interpersonal relationships within the family and wider community.

"Brain injury can be a major source of stress for the family members. The trauma of the initial injury and the anxious wait for the signs of recovery in the early stages are acutely stressful. The family then shares in the long and often painful struggle to regain lost skills. Throughout, the family is a vital source of comfort, reassurance and support. This can become a source of friction for the injured person and their relatives. Families may also experience a similar sense of isolation to the person with the injury. The family is faced with the difficult task of adjusting to the many physical and psychological changes in the person with the injury, particularly changes in personality. They may feel that the altered personality and behaviour of the injured person is no longer compatible with family life. Readjustment after the brain injury is perhaps most difficult for the marital relationship. Spouses' may feel isolated and trapped. This is not to suggest that any of these problems are insurmountable. Often families show great fortitude and resilience in adapting to the changes required and may feel closer as a result, whilst others may struggle and need more help to find a positive way forward."- Headway.