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Drugs and Alcohol and ABI

For people with ABI, treating medical staff recommend abstinence from the use of alcohol for up to two years from time of injury. The reasons commonly cited for this include:

  • alcohol use increases the likelihood of developing post traumatic epilepsy
  • alcohol will reduce the effectiveness of medication used to prevent seizures and may interfere with other medication
  • balance, co-ordination, reaction time, and judgement are already adversely affected by the brain injury and are further compromised by alcohol use, increasing risk of a further injury
  • the toxic effect of alcohol on neural tissue adversely affects the brain's ability to recover from injury

Each drug a person uses affects them in some way. The interactions of different drugs can also have further adverse affects on health and a person's ability to function and can reduce or interfere with the function of prescribed medications. For people with an ABI who may also have changes in their physical, cognitive, social and emotional abilities as a result of an ABI, drug use often exacerbates or further compromises their abilities and also increases their risk of further injury and the development of other complications such as epilepsy or psychosis.

Alcohol and drug use and misuse is a significant problem in rehabilitation services for people with ABI.  Studies evaluating post-injury alcohol and drug use following a traumatic brain injury have indicated that people who continue to drink exhibit higher rates of psychiatric disorders and more aggressive behaviour, as well as higher arrest rates, lower return to work rates, and higher referral rates to supported employment services (Kolakowsky-Hayner, Gourley III, Kreutzer, Marwitz , Meade and Cifu 2002).

The following list of links to various Queensland based and National websites provides links to Drug and Alcohol facts and information on the various Services available to assist with Drug and Alcohol use and abuse.

Drug and Alcohol Services and Resources

Brain Injury Australia is the peak acquired brain injury (ABI) advocacy body representing, through its State and Territory Member Organisations, the needs of people with an acquired brain injury, their families and carers.They have a fact sheet on Alcohol, drugs and Acquired Brain Injury

Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)

AODS: Queensland Health's Alcohol and other Drugs Information Services.

Australian Drug Treatment and Information Services - Health Direct

Australian Drug Treatment and Information Services - Indigenous Communities
National Indigenous Australians Agency -

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare -

Drug Arm

Lives Lived Well

Noffs (Ted Noffs Foundation) is about helping young people reach their incredible potential. They offer free counselling for young people aged 12/25 years with drug, alcohol and mental health issues

Queensland Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (QNADA) - Represents the alcohol and other drug non-government sector.

Teen Challenge Queensland - For over 40 years Teen Challenge has given young people who struggle with life-controlling problems a second chance at life. The program aims to eliminate their self destructive habits by meeting the needs of the whole person ....not just dealing with the addiction, but also rebuilding their self-image, work ethic, spiritual awareness and relationships.

Alcohol Related Brain Injury Australia services

Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre

Holyoake - a drug and alcohol rehabilitation and counselling service in Western Australia who has previously had an office in Queensland

Drug Support - Support Line

Australian Drug Foundation: works with communities to reduce drug and alcohol harm. They have community programs, information services, and do advocacy work. Their Mission is: Working together to prevent alcohol and other drug problems in communities.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

Contact ABIOS

Last updated: 12 July 2022