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Personal Changes After ABI

As we grow we develop an intrinsic sense of  who we are. Our identity is constantly being shaped and changed by our life experiences, past and present, and our plans, hopes and visions for the future.

For most people, identity is further defined by what we do (roles) and our relationships with others. We may be a sister, brother, daughter, son, parent, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, neighbour, carer, workmate, colleague and friend. The various roles that we have are different for all of us, but they are an integral part of who we are.

When major changes and events occur in our lives, the effects on personal identity can be profound and far-reaching.

When an ABI occurs it can lead to a sudden change in physical, cognitive (or thinking skills),  communication, social and behavioural abilities. Any sudden change in abilities has an equally sudden impact on what we are able to do (our roles) and how we are able to do it. For the person with an ABI this change unfortunately also often affects the relationships that they have with those around them, leaving them questioning who they are now and just how to explain this sense of change to those around them. It is normal to experience feelings of grief and loss about changes following an ABI, however, if these feelings persist and get in the way of the person with the ABI moving forward with their life, they may be experiencing depression and should seek medical advice.

  a young lady

Life after an ABI often involves a lengthy process of adjustment and adaptation to change. It is not an easy process. It takes time and often requires various levels of support from family, friends, service providers and health professionals.

If you have an Acquired Brain Injury the following resources may assist you to:

  • Increase your skills and ideas for living with and moving forward from the many changes that you may be experiencing following your ABI
  • Better understand the sense you may have of being a different person from who you were before your ABI
  • Increase your skills and ideas for living with and moving forward with these changes
  • Provide information for your family, friends and services that you are working with
  • Find where to go for further information, support or advice


ABIOS Resources:

Adjustment, Grief and Loss after ABI (pdf, 354kb)
Understanding Chronic Pain and Brain Injury (pdf, 396kb)
Managing Fatigue (pdf, 337kb)
Relaxation after ABI (pdf, 409kb)
Sleep After ABI (pdf, 341kb)


Other helpful sections of the ABIOS Website:

Behaviour Change after ABI
Cognitive or Thinking Skill Changes after ABI
Communication Changes after ABI
Dysphagia or Swallowing Changes after ABI
Mental Health and ABI


Other helpful websites:

Synapse has a number of factsheets on a number of different topics which may be of assistance  




Return to Life after ABI



Contact ABIOS
abios@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 11 September 2017