Acquired brain injury (ABI) is any type of injury to the brain that occurs after birth. It can result from trauma, hypoxia, infection, substance abuse, degenerative neurological disease or stroke.
The impact depends not only on the cause, but also on which area of the brain suffers damage. ABI can affect a person’s physical, cognitive or emotional functions or, in some cases, all three. This can have serious consequences for the person's level of independence. It is common for many people with ABI to experience increased mental and physical fatigue and some slowing down in the speed with which they process information and solve problems. They may experience changes in their behaviour and personality, physical and sensory abilities, or thinking and learning.
ABI is often referred to as a "hidden" disability because it is not always immediately obvious. However, it can result in significant restrictions to a person’s ability to participate fully in education, employment and other aspects of life. Relationships with families, friends and carers can also be affected by behavioural personality and changes.