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Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Brain injury

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Serious head injuries of any kind can have severe consequences, not just for the individual but for the entire family.

The brain is a complex organ. When it’s harmed, its normal functions – which dictate everything from behaviour and memory to mood and movement – can be disrupted. This is a brain injury, and the effects of it range in severity and can be life altering for the individual. Not only that, but family members are likely to be affected too.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

Injuries caused by any kind of blow or external damage to the head can cause what's known as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This could be from a fall, assault or an accident at home or work.  
There are three main types of traumatic brain injury defined according to the severity and location of the injury.

Types of traumatic brain injury 

First injuries

This refers to the initial trauma to the brain, such as a blow to the head or a penetrative injury. These can be closed, open or crushing.

Closed head injuries are the most common of TBI. With a closed injury there’s no open wound. This type of head injury may be caused by an accident in which the head is shaken, such as in a road traffic collision.

An open injury is just that. The skull is opened up and the brain exposed.

A crushing injury is where the brain is crushed, between two objects for example.

Secondary injuries

This refers to the symptoms that arise in the hours and even weeks after the initial injury. It can include unconsciousness, infections, fits or seizures, and difficulty speaking or walking.

Secondary injuries are largely preventable and can be treated, so it’s important to get medical assistance as soon as possible after the initial injury.

The impact of a brain injury

Every brain injury is unique. Some individuals display severe symptoms as a result of an injury, and some make such an excellent recovery that there are no or few signs that an injury has occurred.

Often, problems are not physical. For example, an individual can display behavioural or mood-changing symptoms and could suffer from issues with concentration and self-awareness. This is hard on the family as their behaviour may become unpredictable.

Individuals with a brain injury can sometimes be described as suffering from an ‘executive dysfunction’ – a medical term used to describe cognitive, emotional and behavioural difficulties. For the family, it’s so important to ask for support from professionals to help with coping strategies and the practicalities of living with someone with a brain injury.

Follow these links for more information on rehabilitation and the support available to individuals and their families.

Traumatic brain injury at a glance

Follow this link to see an infographic on the causes and effects of a traumatic brain injury.

You or a family member or friend can contact us on 03700 868 686 to arrange an immediate visit so we can discuss your situation and offer our specialist help.

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