Headway Hertfordshire - supporting people affected by brain injury

If your brain is injured

If the brain, that amazing blancmange-like three pounds of membrane, blood vessels and 100 billion nerve cells, is injured in any way, the injury tears the cells and interrupts the communication between them. The cells can no longer 'talk to each other' so some parts of the body won't work or some functions like memory, speech and understanding are lost.

Brain damage depends on which part of the brain the injury hits and how severe the injury is.

A brain injury can be caused in a number of ways, including a fall, a tumour, a stroke, an assault and a road traffic accident. In each case the effects can be devastating. One thing is for sure, the recovery process is slow and frustrating.

Sam Robinson was told he had a brain tumour 12 years ago, since then he has undergone six major surgeries and recently had a stroke.  Listen to his story to see and see the difficulties he experienced.


Physical Effects

Most people recover from the physical effects of brain injury. However, there are often long-term residual issues like fatigue, hormonal imbalances, epilepsy, speech and sensory impairment.

Cognitive Effects

Different mental abilities can be located in different parts of the brain, so often brain injury damages some, but not all, cognitive skills. Affected can be memory, concentration, reasoning, motivation, judgement, problem solving and information processing.

Emotional and Behavioural Effects

Emotional and behavioural changes are usually caused by a combination of the primary direct damage to the brain and secondary psychological reactions to the injury. Some effects may be short-term but if they persist and are not correctly managed they can lead to long-term difficulties for both the person with the brain injury and their relatives and friends.

Effects can include loss of confidence, mood swings, depression, anger, obsessive behaviour and inappropriate social behaviour.