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Life After Brain Injury

Alcohol and Drugs After Brain Injury

A brain injury can affect how people think and manage emotions. If a person with brain injury drinks too much alcohol, uses illegal drugs, or takes more medicine than prescribed, it can damage the cells and nerves in the brain, making the effects of the brain injury become worse.

Tips for family members:

  • Take the substance abuse seriously—it’s not a phase.
  • Support him to lead an alcohol- and drug-free lifestyle.
  • Help him find ways to cope with things that had him abuse alcohol or drugs before the brain injury.
  • Practice ways he can avoid these situations.

A rehabilitation psychologist, social worker, or addictions counsellor can help to decide if a drug or alcohol problem exists. There are alcohol and other drug treatment programs that can help. Talk to any rehabilitation team member or doctor if you have concerns.

Alcohol and drugs can trigger seizures and affect:

  • alertness and concentration
  • judgement
  • self-awareness
  • perception
  • memory and learning
  • emotions
  • reasoning, planning, and problem-solving
  • speech and language
  • motor control
  • social interactions or social behaviour
  • motivation

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