A Brain Injury is a “Hidden Disability”.
The disability called brain injury – sometimes called acquired brain injury, or “ABI” – refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. That damage can be caused by an accident or trauma, by a stroke, by a brain infection, by alcohol or other drug abuse or by diseases of the brain like Parkinson’s disease.
Brain injury is common. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 700,000 Australians have a brain injury, with daily “activity limitations” and “participation restrictions”. Three in every four of these people are aged 65 or under. As many as two out of every three acquired their brain injury before the age of 25. Three-quarters of people with a brain injury are men.
The physical disabilities following brain injury can be quite easy to see, but disabilities that affect thinking, emotion and behaviour can be far harder to recognise and diagnose. For this reason, brain injury is sometimes called a “hidden disability.”
Common Causes of Brain Injury
Accidents / Trauma
Traumatic Brain Injury occurs as the result of some external force being applied to the brain.
Stroke usually occurs as the result of a haemorrhage or blockage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the various regions of the brain.
Tumours cause damage to the surrounding brain tissue and structures as they grow within the brain.
Bacterial or viral infections can lead to an inflammation of the brain covering (meningitis) or the brain tissue itself (encephalitis).
Poisoning / Toxins
Alcohol acts as a toxin and the long-term misuse of alcohol can cause damage to brain tissue.
Hypoxia / Anoxia
Hypoxia/anoxia refers to reduced or, complete, stopping of the flow of oxygen to the brain leading to injury to brain tissue. Can be caused by overdoses, failed hangings, or near drowning.
Degenerative Neurological Diseases
Conditions including Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease are caused by abnormal changes to brain cells in particular regions of the brain.