The effects of a brain injury

08 October 2021

It isn’t easy to live with the effects of a brain injury. Even a mild concussion can cause distress, pain and discomfort. The more severe the injury, however, the more complex and life-changing that impact can be – both in the short term and for many years to come. It won’t just affect an individual either. A brain injury can have a lasting impact on friends and family members too.

As many as 1.4 million people are thought to be living with the long-term effects of brain injury in the UK. It is something that can affect different people in different ways. Here at Shoosmiths, however, we recognise that families need the most appropriate brain injury support and care to help rebuild their lives. And we’re here to help you and your family cope with what comes next.

The different types of brain injury

There are three main terms that you can use to describe the types of brain injury that someone may experience:

Acquired brain injuries

The term ‘acquired brain injury’ (ABI) refers to any brain injury or damage that a child or adult suffers after birth. Around 350,000 people are admitted to hospital each year with an ABI – a 10% increase compared with 2005, according to Headway statistics.

Learn more about acquired brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries

Another common cause of brain injury is head trauma. This is when the force of a sudden and external blow results in your brain striking the inside of your skull – resulting in damage. This is called a ‘traumatic brain injury’ (TBI).

Learn more about traumatic brain injury

Hypoxic brain injuries

The supply of oxygen – and the blood that carries it – is essential for the brain to work properly. Any disruption in this supply, even for a few seconds, can cause serious and lasting damage. In such cases, the long-term effects of the brain injury will depend on how long the brain is starved of oxygen. This is known as a hypoxic brain injury – and there can be many different causes.

Learn more about hypoxic brain injury

No matter the type of brain injury that you or a loved one suffers, it can be even harder to come to terms with the impact where someone else is at fault for the cause. From accidents to medical negligence, our brain injury solicitors have the knowledge and understanding to help you make a claim for compensation. And, with it, get the support you need to get life back on track.

To find out more, call 0370 086 8686 or send us a message today.

What are the effects of a brain injury?

It’s not always possible to know the initial effects of an acquired brain injury. The symptoms and signs can take weeks or months to become clear. And the effects can vary from person to person – as well as the severity of the injury and which part of the brain is damaged. This can shape the brain injury recovery process for you or a loved one.

Physical effects

Even with mild cases, short-term traumatic brain injury symptoms can include headaches, dizzy spells, tiredness, amnesia or depression. In most instances, these symptoms will disappear in a few weeks or so. For more serious brain injuries, however, they can linger for months or years.

Of course, the severity of a brain injury determines how far-reaching the physical impact will be. In the long term, a person might experience one or more of the following effects:

  • Balance and movement problems
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Spasms (ataxia) or epileptic fits
  • Hormone problems
  • Speech/communications issues
  • Loss or impairment of the senses
  • Excessive tiredness and fatigue

Not all physical effects are visible from the outside. But each one can pose challenges. Some of these conditions can prove frustrating and debilitating for the person involved. They also impact family members who may need to provide care and assistance with everyday tasks.

Emotional effects

Just as some physical effects of a brain injury won’t always be visible, the emotional impact can also be overlooked. But it is the emotional consequences that can be the hardest to cope with – both for the individual and those closest to them. This can include:

  • ‘Exaggerated’ mood swings
  • Depression, grief and PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Anger and frustration
  • Changes in personality

The emotional impact can be linked to the initial cause of the brain injury – especially if it is due to the actions (or inaction) of someone else. But these effects can emerge over time too. This could be, for example, frustration at the brain injury recovery process. Or it may be related to realising the full extent of the long-term impact – and what that now means for future.

Behavioural effects

The behavioural impact often differs from person to person. For some, as Headway explains, this can see existing traits exaggerated. But, for others, the changes can make the individual behave out of character. The behavioural changes after a brain injury can make someone feel:

  • Irritated and frustrated
  • Angry and aggressive
  • Apathetic or passive
  • Less inhibited or in control of their behaviour
  • Self-centred or egotistic

Even after a mild brain injury, there can be some behavioural changes. And it can be so vital for families to receive support at this time. Without it, the recovery process can be much more difficult – and stop loved ones from being able to enjoy the best possible quality of life together.

Cognitive effects

In addition to the physical and emotional effects, an individual who suffers a moderate or severe brain injury is likely to experience cognitive difficulties too. But this can differ significantly based on the part of the brain that’s damaged. It can be specific skills or abilities that are affected – or a wide range. The cognitive effects of a brain injury can often include:

  • Memory problems: this includes the ability to recall past events or learn new things
  • Aphasia: It can be difficult for someone to express themselves or understand things
  • Issues with perception or recognition
  • A lack of attention or concentration
  • The inability to process information
  • Being unable to think with logic or reason

Other long-term effects of a brain injury

Any – or a mix – of the above ‘symptoms’ can mean the long-term effects of a brain injury extend into other areas of a person’s life. It could mean that an individual is no longer able to work – or return to the job they had before the injury. It can also be harder to keep doing social or leisure activities. And this can all deepen the impact on an individual – not least in an emotional sense.

One of the most significant challenges that people often face when coming to terms with a brain injury is the strain it can put on relationships. It’s not just the individual who must adjust. Family members and friends must do so too. It can be especially challenging if loved ones now find they need to provide ongoing care and support on a long-term basis.

Brain injury treatment, support and rehabilitation

With the right combination of time and treatment, it is possible for the effects of a brain injury to become more manageable. Again, this depends on the individual and the severity of the injury. But recovery can be possible – even if you or a loved one doesn’t regain all of that initial lost function.

The initial focus of rehabilitation and treatment while the individual is still in hospital will likely be on things such as the ability to move, concentrate and be aware of what’s around you. But it can take around six months to get a clearer idea of the physical impact of a serious brain injury.

And it can be even longer and more complicated to know what the emotional effects are.

The good news is that it’s not a process that you and your family need to face alone. You’ll find a range of care providers, rehabilitation services and support groups that you can access.

At Shoosmiths, we work closely with leading charities and organisations such as Headway to help families affected by a brain injury to get exactly what they need. We’ve helped numerous people in a similar position – and our team of legal experts are standing by to help you too.

How can Shoosmiths help?

If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury and someone else is at fault, you may be able to claim compensation. Our brain injury claims solicitors are the people you can trust for expert legal advice. But our work does not stop there. We also make sure that you and your family get the specialist care and support you need to deal with the effects of brain injury even years later.

It all starts with a phone call or email.

Call 0370 086 8686 or send us a message for a free, initial and no-obligation consultation. This is your chance to talk about your family’s experience in your own words. From it, we’ll tell you if we believe you have a claim – and what other services we may be able to provide. This includes:

  • Benefits and financial support
  • Brain injury rehabilitation
  • Personal aids and adaptations
  • Long-term care requirements

Get in touch today to find out more.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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