March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and Creative Technology Prosthetics & Orthotics wants more people to be aware of the difference between a traumatic and acquired brain injury. Brain injury terms have evolved over time. For many years these types of injuries were called “head injuries,” but were changed to reflect specific damage to the brain more so than the skull. That term has been spilt into two categories; traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and acquired brain injury, or ABI.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) with or without skull fracture is caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness. This also includes the most common and most “mild” brain injury referred to as a concussion.
Acquired brain injury (ABI) is classified as an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, present at birth, or degenerative. Causes include anoxic/hypoxic injury (lack of oxygen to the brain caused by heart attack, near drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.), intracranial surgery, seizure disorders and toxic exposure (substance abuse, ingestion or inhalation of volatile agents).
Every brain injury is unique, but there are common results. Physical impairments including problems with speech, hearing and vision, paralysis, headaches, seizure disorder, muscle spasticity and reduced endurance are some symptoms someone will go through after an injury to the brain.
Cognitive impairments of a brain injury include difficulty with concentration, attention and sequencing, difficulties with perceptions and planning, trouble with communication, reading and writing skills, short and long term memory problems, judgment and orientation.
Some of the most difficult changes involve behavioral and emotional changes. Those changes include increased anxiety, restlessness, agitation, mood swings, excessive emotional responses, depression, low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, lack of motivation, fatigue and self-centeredness.
If you would like learn more about brain injury services and support in the Denver area, visit the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado website.