Traumatic brain injuries* result from damage to the brain caused by an impact to the head; for example, after falling from a height, assault or in a road traffic accident. There are three main types of traumatic brain injury*: closed head injuries*, open or penetrating wounds and crushing injuries*. A concussion is also classified as a traumatic brain injury*.
Non-traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of an illness or a condition within the body, and not a result of a blow to the head. Common causes can include encephalitis, hypoxia, tumours, hydrocephalus and vascular problems such as a stroke, hemorrhage or an aneurysm. Non-traumatic brain injuries* can also occur as a result of medical negligence.
Injuries* to the brain are not always detected immediately after an accident or impact to the head, especially where there is no obvious external injury.
Each injury* is unique, which means that symptoms can vary widely according to the extent and location of the damage to brain tissue.
The consequences and effects of an acquired brain injury are different for every individual and depend upon the type, severity and location of the injury* as well as the individual’s pre-injury personality and abilities. The extent of some changes may only become apparent as time progresses. People with acquired brain injuries* can experience cognitive changes, physical changes and behavioural and emotional changes. Acquired brain injury* is often referred to as a “hidden disability” because its long-term problems are often in the areas of thinking and behaviour and are not as easy to see and recognise as many physical disabilities.