Understanding Brain Injuries

What is Acquired Brain Injury?

The term Acquired Brain Injury (ABI or just Brain Injury) is used to describe damage that has occurred to the brain after birth. It includes: Traumatic Brain Injury, stroke, near suffocation and near drowning (lack of oxygen), and infections in the brain. (Brain Injury Association of America)

How is Traumatic Brain Injury Different than Acquired Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury ~ known as a TBI is the result of external trauma to the head or violent movement of the head, such as from a fall, car crash or being shaken. TBI may or may not be associated with loss of consciousness, an open wound or skull fracture. (Center for Disease Control)


What are the signs of Brain Injury?

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Visual Disturbance
  • Memory Loss
  • Poor Attention
  • Poor Concentration
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Dizziness/loss of balance
  • Irritability-emotional disturbance
  • Feelings of depression
  • Seizures
  • Decreased speed of processing information
  • Difficulties with communication
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulties with sensory perception including touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing
  • Trouble regulating body temperature
  • Appetite changes
  • Change in mood
  • Denial/ lack of awareness of the injury


Are these effects of Brain Injury Permanent?

Brain injuries are categorized as:

  • Mild (as in a concussion) Symptoms usually improve over 1-3 months(NIH Report)
  • Moderate (may have an associated loss of consciousness of minutes or a few hours and followed by a few days or weeks of confusion). May have a longer period of impaired consciousness, more impaired verbal memory shortly after the injury and a lower likelihood of achieving a good recovery within 6 months. (NIH Report)
  • Severe (may have a loss of consciousness, or coma, for 6 hours or longer, either immediately after the injury or after an intervening period of clarity.) There is risk of long-term disability. (NIH Report)

Montana is 2nd per capita in the US for occurrence of brain injury...
On average, 300 people die each year in Montana due to traumatic brain injury. The most common causes are suicide, motor vehicle crashes and falls. In Montana, there are over 19,000 individuals who are living with life-long disabilities resulting from Brain Injury. (MT/DPHHS)



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