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What Causes an ABI?

19 November, 2021

An acquired brain injury refers to any form of brain damage that occurs after birth. The severity of an acquired brain injury can vary. Some causes include alcohol or drugs, certain diseases, physical injury, lack of oxygen, or stroke. 

Alcohol & drugs

Excessive use of alcohol and drugs can cause destruction or alteration of different cells in the brain. These cell changes may then result in seizures, respiratory arrest, hypoxic brain injury, or any other form of acquired brain injury

Alcohol and drug use contain toxins that can have neurotoxic effects when abused regularly. Taking these substances at high doses for a prolonged period of time can increase your risk of suffering from acquired brain injuries. 


Neurodegenerative diseases cause your brain and nerves to lose function as time passes. They can destroy your brain’s tissue and nerves, and also cause confusion and personality changes. Common diseases that can cause an acquired brain injury include:

  • Huntington’s disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Dementia

Neurodegenerative diseases cause permanent damage, but treatment can still help. It assists in reducing symptoms and maintaining quality of life. 

Physical injury & trauma

One of the more common causes of an acquired brain injury is physical injury, or trauma to the brain. An acquired brain injury can occur when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and hits brain tissue. This is known as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Examples of TBIs include:

  • Assaults / blows to the head

  • Falls

  • Sporting injuries

  • Motor vehicle accidents

Lack of oxygen

The brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen to survive. If this is interrupted, brain function is immediately distributed and can result in irreversible damage to the brain, known as an acquired brain injury. This is known as anoxic brain injury.

Anoxic brain injury can be caused by a number of different causes, such as cardiac arrest, choking, strangulation, electric shock, or drowning. It can be difficult to assess the damage done after an acquired brain injury is obtained in this way, but different factors such as age, duration of the anoxic episode, and duration of coma can all be taken into consideration. 


A stroke occurs when your brain can’t get enough oxygen and nutrients, predominantly because of a blood clot or sudden bleeding, which reduces blood supply. This lack of oxygen to the brain is what can result in an acquired brain injury. 

Long term complications from a stroke include:

  • Weakness or lack of movement in the limbs

  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, reading or writing

  • Cognitive, sensory and perceptual issues

How can Focus Care help?

Focus Care is a leading provider of at-home care services and acquired brain injury services, offering support through the NDIS, Home Care Packages, and privately. We take the time to get to know each client individually, their family, their lifestyle, and their needs. We work with your strengths to provide support, tailored to your preferences. 

Home care services for Acquired Brain Injuries

Some disability home care services that can help improve the quality of life for someone living with an ABI include:

  • Social support to assist with communication and socialisation skills

  • Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy to assist with mobility

  • Medication management to administer pain medication

  • Transport to get to and from appointments

  • Shopping, meal preparation and cleaning, which can be challenging activities for someone living with an ABI

  • Personal care if the Acquired Brain Injury makes managing hygene challenging

  • Creative therapies such as Art Therapy and Pet Therapy, which can improve emotional connectivity and cognition

  • As specialists in the Montessori Method, we can assist with memory recall and cognitive decline.

Focus Care offers these services through NDIS, Home Care Packages or privately to people living in Sydney, Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle Hunter region and Armidale. If you or a loved one are looking for support for an acquired brain injury, contact us today to see how we can help. 

Brain Awareness Week 2022

In 2022, Brain Awareness Week is 14-18 March. The Brain Foundation has some wonderful resources to highlight brain diseases, disorders and injuries and Focus Care can highly recommend visiting their website for more information.

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