Brain injuries affect over 70,000 Nova Scotians. In fact, it is the leading killer and disabler of people under 40 with an estimated 17,000 new brain injuries every year in the province. Of these 17,000 people with acquired brain injuries (ABI), close to 7000 will have prolonged symptoms. And while a third of the adolescent population will sustain a concussion before graduating high school, most ABIs are not sports-related and often occur while doing regular daily activities.
As the only organized voice for the brain injury community in the province, Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia is committed to providing programs, education, recovery, support, advocacy and community for survivors and their families.
What is an ABI?
There are two types of ABIs:
- Traumatic (TBI): caused by an external force. e.g., car accidents, falls, domestic violence, assault, & sports injuries; and
- Non-Traumatic (ABI): caused by a medical problem or disease process. e.g., substance abuse, stroke, aneurysm, encephalitis, meningitis, & overdoses.
Concussions are also brain injuries that can range from mild to severe.
What are the Symptoms of ABI?
Often, symptoms of ABI are “invisible,” which means many are unaware of the prevalence and impact of a brain injury. Tragically, an unknown number of ABIs go undiagnosed. A brain injury can:
- range from mild to severe;
- cause permanent effects, which can begin to show immediately or increase/decrease over time; and
- impact life physically, behaviourally, cognitively and/or emotionally.
What are the Invisible Impacts of an ABI?
In many cases, survivors will experience symptoms that cannot be seen but are often serious. For example:
- over 40 per cent of ABI survivors will experience depression in the first 12 months of their injury;
- more than 10 per cent will meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder within 12 months of their injury; and
- survivors are more than one and half times as likely to develop at gambling addiction.
Are you a survivor of an ABI or a family member of a someone who has suffered an ABI? If so, Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia can provide free supports and services to help in the recovery process.
Due to COVID-19, all in-person programming has been suspended until further notice. Virtual programming is being offered through the organization’s “Together in Isolation” project. To learn more, visit the programs page.