Irene Fischer

Irene’s Brain Injury Dictionary

When the brain breaks an uncountable number of things can change the injured person physically, cognitively and emotionally. Here follows a list of terms I found useful in my journey to make sense of my traumatic brain injury.

General Terms

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is brain damage caused by events after birth.

There are two types of Acquired Brain Injury: traumatic brain injury and non-traumatic injury

Traumatic brain injury may be caused by either trauma to the head due to motor accidents, physical assaults, neurosurgery etc.

Non-traumatic injury may be derived from either an internal or external source e.g. stroke, brain tumours, infection, poisoning, substance abuse etc.

ABI can result in cognitive, physical, emotional, or behavioral impairments that lead to permanent or temporary changes in functioning.

ABI does not include damage to the brain resulting from neuro-degenerative disorders.

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

If a person experience any forceful contact to the head, and it disrupts the brain’s natural functions, then they’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Glasgow Coma scale (GCS) is a neurological scale that aims to give a reliable, objective way to assess the severity of the TBI and of the brain damage that tails it.

post traumatic amnesia

  • Fatigue is a very common consequence of a brain injury. It is a subjective feeling of tiredness which is distinct from weakness, and has a gradual onset. There are two types: Physical fatigue and mental fatigue.

Unlike weakness, fatigue can be alleviated by periods of rest.

Possible side effects of a traumatic brain injury:

the blunt effect

  • Tinnitus is a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears.
  • Xerostomia is abnormal dryness of the mouth due to insufficient salivary flow.
  • Xerophthalmia is a medical condition in which the eye fails to produce tears. Abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eye occurs.
  • Strabismus is when the eyes are abnormally alignment; double vision is a direct result thereof.


  • Ataxia usually occurs because of hemiplegia. It is the lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements and thus a person walks with sluggish, spastic movements.
  • Disinhibition is when a brain injury survivor may show a lack of restraint manifested in several ways. This includes a disregard for social conventions, impulsivity, extreme curiosity and poor risk assessment.
Disinhibition may affect a brain-injured person in three ways:
  1. Inappropriate words/behavior/actions in public;
  2. Uncontrollable aggressive outbursts without being explicitly provoked, excessive swearing and becoming violent or hysterical during temper tantrums
  3. Inappropriate sexual advances may occur.
  • Hypersexuality is extremely frequent or suddenly increased sexual urges or sexual activity.
  • Hyperphagia Is when a traumatic brain injury survivor experience excessive hunger or an increased appetite.
  • Aggressive outbursts may occur after a TBI when the injured person has difficulty controlling their temper and is highly irritable irritability and even hostile in certain situations.

There are many more side effects that stem out of a traumatic brain injury and you are welcome to click on the following link in order to read more about brain injury:

john wooden quote