Acquired Brain Disorder (ABD)

The most famous acquired brain disorder comes from the 1830’s when a young railroad worker by the name of Phineas Gage survived a crowbar going through his skull.  Known as “the crowbar” case for the rest of his life, Mr. Gage experienced a drastic change in personality, so much that his friends and family barely knew him.  Injuries like Mr. Gage are classified as acquired brain disorders (ABD). Acquired Brain Disorders are injuries that are sustained after birth that are not caused genetically, rather they occur after time; hence why they are known as “acquired.” This specific type of brain disorder can happen due to a myriad of injuries such as those typically sustained by traumatic injuries or other internal or external sources, such as strokes or poison.  While it is hard to classify all acquired brain disorders, this article looks to highlight the symptoms of such disorders, those individuals who are especially prone to ABD, and how to help those who are already suffering from an acquired brain disorder. Additionally, to receive the label of an acquired brain disorder, the injured party must be under the age of sixty.

Symptoms of ABD

There are some specific emotional and memory symptoms (or lack thereof) that are prevalent in acquired brain disorders. Emotionally the patient can suffer extreme trauma and have a sharp decline in cognitive ability. Previous control of impulses and self-control seem to dissipate for most patients with ABD and some even experience a rise of anger on a regular basis. Depression and sudden decline of self-image in general seem to also rise. In rare instances, such as Mr. Gage, patients may experience a complete personality change. Research has shown that those who have a positive outlook on their injury tend to do better than those who cope with the injury negatively. Many patients also experience a rapid loss of memory, both short term and long term. The part of the brain that is also linked to memory is the capacity to pay attention.  Many doctors have a hard to distinguishing between the patients memory or their blatant disregard to pay attention. There are some cognitive effects which vary from person to person but can still be very serious.

Individuals Prone to ABD

Children are the individuals who have the most to lose from an acquired brain disorder. Most of the children who have an ABD suffer a life long disability that affects all aspects of their lives. Their participation in the home, school, and with their peers, tends to drop drastically as their injury seeps into every part of their life. Due to the lack of problem solving skills most children face, they have a hard time making the necessary connections that their peers develop to help their growth.  Most parents of injured children place them in an extensive rehabilitation program to help meet their needs and raise their quality of life. While all injuries are different in their depth of seriousness, any injury can create an unmeasurable amount of change or heartache. In all seriousness, anyone can be subject to an ABD, unless they are over sixty then the injury is no longer said to fall under an ABD.   Accidents, strokes, and other unmentionable injuries are very similar to each other and can cause the same type of damage.

Help for Those Managing ABD

Because acquired brain disorders have so many different elements and ways in which they can be treated, it can be difficult to manage. Depending on the age in which the injury occurred on the individual it may drastically affect their quality of life. If you are a parent managing a child with ABD it is suggested to give what most doctors would suggest as a multi-disciplinary approach so they can regain some of their quality of life. Generally, this multi-disciplinary approach includes a variety of medical nurses and doctors, speech therapists, as well as physical and emotional therapists.  This will help give the child the tools to learn and succeed with their disorder. If you are an adult with ABD it is probably good to supplement many of these previously mentioned approaches.  Unfortunately, there is no set outcomes as to how much these therapies may help a patient. Many doctor’s suggest guidelines similar to stroke or traumatic brain injury patients. If you have received an acquired brain disorder at the hand of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.  Do not hesitate to call us at Christensen & Hymas for a free consultation.  Call to schedule an appointment at 801.506.0800.

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