Cognitive Impairments

Cognitive Impairments

on Posted in Brain Injury.

Cognitive Impairments

Not all brain injuries lead to changes in perception or thought processes, but those that do can be a source of great frustration for the sufferer. Brain injuries can affect one’s capacity to learn, work, and interact with others. 

Lack of Insight

People with brain injury often find it difficult to recognize or accept that their cognition has changed. This is why it’s important to explain patiently, clearly, and as often as necessary why they’re being treated or why they can no longer perform certain tasks. This can be extremely frustrating for the sufferer, who may not believe or listen to you. If this occurs, try talking about something else. Reasoning may not be possible and arguing will only upset you both. In time, the person will learn to adapt.

Memory Problems
Memory problems are very common. Long-term memory may remain completely unaffected, while short-term memory and/or the ability to form new memories may suffer significantly. These problems may disappear over time, but if they don’t, finding ways to compensate for the deficit may be more successful than trying techniques like repetition.

Concentration Problems

Victims of brain injury are often easily distracted and unable to concentrate, and they may have trouble following a conversation.

Sluggish Response Times

A person with a brain injury may take a long time to reply to questions or complete tasks. Patience here is key, as is keeping sufferers away from situations where a sluggish response may be harmful (e.g. driving).

Planning and Problem-solving Issues

Organization and planning may be difficult for people with a brain injury. Breaking down complex tasks into smaller, simpler steps will help the patient to accomplish things and stay organized.

Lack of Initiative

Some people with a brain injury are unable to motivate themselves. They may need to be prompted to dress, shower, or reply to a question.


Brain injury victims often have trouble switching mental gears, so they may repeat themselves or struggle to sympathize with the perspectives of others. Changes in routine may throw or upset them.


This is quite common and generally occurs some time after the injury. It may lead to listlessness, insomnia or hypersomnia, sadness, weight loss and decreased sexual activity.

© 2015 BIC