Article Title: Head Injury/Brain Injury) - Some Facts
Author: Craig Lock
Category (key words): head injury, brain injury, neuro-psychology
Craig's blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22 and http://craiglock.wordpress.com
Other articles are available at:
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, 'spiritual writings' (how 'airey-fairey'), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

I hope that the following piece may be informative and helpful to others. If it helps anyone "out there in the often very difficult, but always amazing 'journey of life' in any way, then we're very happy.

"We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

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HEAD INJURY:
Introduction:
Craig has been researching and studying in this field for nearly twenty years stemming from a long-standing head injury. He hopes that by sharing that it will make some difference in those lives affected by brain injury.
There are many misconceptions and a great lack of understanding in this area, so here is some general information that I hope may be helpful to others.
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Head injury has become a common problem throughout the world. Many of the more severe injuries are related to road traffic and horse riding accidents. As an example, in Great Britain about 15 patients every hour are admitted to hospital for observation, because of head injury and every 2 hours one of these will die. Head injury is implicated in 1 of all deaths and 50 OF ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT DEATHS. Head injury is particularly prevalent in the age group between 10 and 25. CONCUSSION has occurred, whenever patients cannot remember the actual blow that made them unconscious.
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THE NATURE OF HEAD INJURY IN AUSTRALIA

Some facts:
* In Australia more than 25000 people each year are permanently disabled by acquired brain injury. In the state of Western Australia it is 1500.
* Each year in Australia approximately 6000 people sustain traumatic head injury and will be totally dependent for the rest of their lives (in W.A the figure is 600).
* It is estimated that 70 of these are caused by road accidents, the balance through work, home and sports accidents or from stroke, encephalitis and other medical conditions.
* Head injury is the greatest cause of disability for people under age 40.
* It causes disabilities ranging from a permanent vegetative state, right through to virtual independence and community re-integration.
* It causes memory loss and other behavioral changes, such as a lack of concentration, an inability to plan, or to motivate oneself.
* It affects three times as many people, as paraplegia and quadraplegia combined.
* Despite being a widespread community tragedy, it has largely remained a SILENT EPIDEMIC, which is not politically or financially recognised by the state. In third world countries, like South Africa, there must be so many victims, who urgently require scarce resources, in competition with so many other pressing social and health needs.
* Carer-givers at home are often faced with the breakdown of the family unit, due to the 24 hour care needed by the person with head injury.

NB: Note that HEAD INJURY IS NOT THE SAME AS AN INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY
* * *
THE EFFECTS OF HEAD INJURY

The most obvious effect of severe head injury is often
Personality change:
The most common changes are those associated with damage to the frontal lobes of the brain.
A changed personality changes everything.
These are the most common effects:
* Irritability
* Aggression: eg. increased shouting, swearing and sometimes even physical violence
Also:
* Apathy
* Lack of initiative
* Boredom
* Lack of interest in activities (previously enjoyed)
* Feelings of Restlessness
* Difficulty in concentrating
* Emotional regression: ie. more childlike in behavior
* Lack of insight into the full consequences of one's actions
Lack of insight can even lead to a denial of a person's disability and they may make frequent reference to plans to resume the former activities, of which they are no longer capable, eg. driving a car or going back to work. (I was like that about racing after my accident).
* Lack of judgment: which can lead to inappropriate behavior, ie. that which is not socially acceptable ("please not here Josephine"). Sometimes there are outright psychiatric symptoms with delusions (not necessarily of grandeur), severe depression and other bizarre behaviors.
Often the most significant effect is MEMORY PROBLEMS. I'm just reading a book and my boyhood hero Stirling Moss says that after his accident in 1962, his memory went. He doesn't even remember winning the New Zealand Grand Prix some years before.

Memory problems: These are the result of a change in the intellectual functioning of the brain; but the existence of memory problems may lead to the head injured person becoming confused, to appear vague and a tendency to avoid certain situations.
(Definitely that's me!)

What else?

A LACK OF INITIATIVE:

N.B: AVOID LABELLING THAT PERSON AS LAZY. This is a very common label.
RESTLESSNESS AND DIFFICULTY CONCENTRATING: However, always remember that one's level of concentration can always be improved.

SWEARING: it is a result of the person losing their normal inhibition and using words, which mean nothing but express emotions so vividly. Swearing has been termed an outpouring of "the all purpose emotional expression". A rather fancy definition coined by a clever medical person, I might say!
I swore like a trooper, sorry ten sea-men, when I woke up after my accident. Six weeks or so (I think) in a coma and my dear parents were assailed by the most filthy language they'd ever heard (from "quiet well-mannered boy-racer" Craig)
and finally,

DYSPHASIA: The person may have trouble speaking. eg. finding the right words, putting them together to make a sensible sentence. This is due to damage to the speech area of the brain...usually the dominant hemisphere. (This must the reason why I write so much better than I speak).
Damage to your brain can affect everything you do. It may affect physical activities: hand strength and skills, balance, walking and running. What many people don't realise is that adverse long term effects can also occur after quite mild injuries, like being knocked out at football. I'm amazed at how many rugby players suffer numerous concussions, and still continue playing. Must be very bad for them...and Francois Pienaar (Springbok rugby captain) is still a very nice guy and perfectly "normal". But look after yourself, Francois, your country needs you.

Note:
Thank goodness the rule makers now have imposed an automatic two week ban (or perhaps it is longer) for rugby players, who have been concussed.
People who are recovering from head injury usually have problems with:

* Concentration
* Memory
* Organisation
* Irritability
* Fatigue
and
* their emotions

All these problems can occur after mild injuries, as well as serious ones. After severe head injury the control of FATIGUE and STRESS is the key to managing recovery. Fatigue damages all other functions and it's management is the most important factor in returning to work after severe head injury.
Coping with chronic fatigue and problems with organisation (getting muddled) is a great challenge for otherwise "normal" people afflicted by a head injury. It shapes their lives ; so someone with a brain injury just has to manage their life around these problems, as I do!.

I hope this information may be helpful to you

craig

"With knowledge comes understanding"

P.S: To end off, enjoy these thoughts...

"We have it within; but we get it all from without. There is a well-spring
of strength, wisdom, courage and great imagination within each one of us; but once we draw on this truth, it gets watered from without, by a Higher Source - the Source of Life and Love, which is God, the very Ground of our Being."

"When you can see no light at the end of the tunnel, light your own candle and let your light illuminate the world, like the radiance from a window at midnight."
That's a metaphor, BTW

"When the world is filled with love, peoples hearts are overflowing
with hope."

"The task ahead of you can always be overcome by the power within you...and the seemingly difficult path ahead of you is never as steep with the great spirit that lies within you."
- craig

Don't worry about the world ending today...
as it's already tomorrow in little scenic and tranquil New Zealand

Author's Bio: 

About the submitter:
Craig has a long-standing head injury and has been researching and studying in this field for nearly twenty years. He hopes that by sharing this information, it will make some difference in those lives affected by brain injury.

http://members.tripod.com/~lock77/
www.craiglockbooks.com and www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

The various books that Craig "felt inspired to write"are available at:
http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html#craig and www.lulu.com/craiglock

All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children -
MINE!

Craig's blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22 and http://craiglock.wordpress.com