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Brain Injury Statistics

The annual number of traumatic brain injuries in the UK is:

  • 150,555 - minor
  • 10,000 - moderate
  • 4,500 - severe

More than 100,000 people are coping with the long term effects of such injuries.

What Are The Effects Of An Injury To The Brain?

These can be both complex and diverse. There is no "standard" set of problems and no easily recognisable set of symptoms. The kind of problems which are experienced are:

  • Physical - people can be left paralysed or with weakened limbs, no fine movement control, with epilepsy or with impairments to speech, hearing, vision and the senses of touch, taste and smell
  • Memory - the inability to recall recent events or any incoming information is characteristic of most brain injuries. This can be crucial in daily living situations or in problem solving
  • Cognitive Functioning - the specific areas which may be impaired include numeracy, language, perception, thought organisation and reasoning skills
  • Motivation - often there is a generalised lethargy and a lack of determination and interest. Initiating a task and maintaining concentration can be especially difficult for people with brain injury
  • Personality - mood and behaviour are sometimes radically altered. An individual can seem like an entirely different person after a serious brain injury
  • Emotional Problems - the combination of physical and psychological problems can cause severe emotional trauma. This is particularly noticed at home where relationships within the family of with carers can be placed under extreme stress

Rehabilitation After More Serious Injury

Stages and Issues

  • Rehabilitation centre
  • Adaptations in the home
  • Managing personal needs
  • Mobility
  • Managing social contacts
  • Coming home to your family - behaviour changes can be the most difficult issues
  • Ensuring care - day services, short breaks
  • Rehabilitation for work - return, retrain, special conditions, sheltered employment, medical retirement
  • Compensation - financial difficulties

Minor Head Injury

This usually involves loss or disruption of consciousness for less than fifteen minutes, but may include whiplash or sports injuries.

Acute symptoms that follow concussion are headache and dizziness. You may also have experienced drowsiness, nausea and blurred vision.

  • Effects - a rapid physical recovery can mask persisting cognitive problems. A prompt return to work or normal activated while symptoms remain may create further stress. In either case, anxiety and loss of confidence can follow
  • What to do - head injuries involving loss of consciousness should be treated in your local Emergency Department

After discharge:

Stages and Issues

  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Inform your employer and your family about your injury
  • If possible, return to work gradually, or in a way that minimises stress
  • You may experience continuing headache, dizziness, tiredness and memory or concentration lapses. Plan for sufficient sleep
  • You may feel irritable or have poor temper control
  • Symptoms should decrease in the following weeks. If they persist or worsen, or if you remain anxious, see your GP

Post acute symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive difficulties

Rehabilitation After More Serious Injury

Stages and Issues

  • Finance - see services: Benefits Advice
  • Isolation - short-lived support, family resentment
  • Grief and loss - loss of partner, prosperity, prospects
  • Day and respite care - see services: Social Services