Symptoms and treatment of an acquired brain injury

Symptoms and treatment of an acquired brain injury

An acquired brain injury (ABI) can affect a person’s thinking and learning abilities. These impacts aren’t always easy to see, but learning to spot symptoms can lead to earlier treatment and improved recovery.

Common symptoms of an acquired brain injury

An acquired brain injury is any form of brain damage that occurs after birth. There are a wide range of causes, but events that can result in an acquired brain injury include physical trauma to the head, or damage from alcohol or drug use.

There are a number of different symptoms of an acquired brain injury which occur in both children and adults. These include changes in:

Physical function such as:

  • muscle weakness and/or stiffness;
  • poor balance;
  • poor motor coordination;
  • difficulties in completing conceptual tasks of day-to-day life;
  • and changes in perception such as vision, smell or taste.

Levels of fatigue such as:

  • becoming tired more easily, both mentally and physically;
  • and changes in sleep patterns.

Cognitive skills such as:

  • problems with attention and concentration;
  • difficulties in planning and organising activities;
  • difficulties in analysing, processing, and retaining information;
  • profound confusion;
  • loss of short term and long term memory;
  • and deficits in social judgement and decision making.

Personality and behaviour such as:

  • difficulties with regulating emotions;
  • being less aware of people’s feelings;
  • irritability;
  • agitation;
  • and mood swings.

Communication issues such as:

  • problems expressing yourself;
  • limited vocabulary and range of concepts;
  • difficulties understanding other people;
  • and slurred speech.
What are the treatment options for an acquired brain injury?

The treatment available for an acquired brain injury will differ depending on the extent, cause and symptoms of the damage. Rehabilitation is often required and may be needed on a long term basis.

Depending on the nature of a person’s injury, treatment options may include:

  • physical therapy;
  • behavioural therapy;
  • occupational therapy;
  • individual, relationship, or family counselling;
  • and medications to relieve physical symptoms such as pain, sleep issues, or headaches.
Acquired brain injury and the NDIS

If you have an ABI you may be able to access supports via the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). To learn more about the steps involved in putting together an NDIS plan, please get in touch with our team.

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