Skip to Content
All Media
All Media

Long-Term Effects of Brain Injury

Categories: Living with Brain Injury

Individuals may experience a number of different symptoms after sustaining a brain injury. These symptoms can have both short- and long-term effects and can affect a person’s cognitive and physical state. Each person who sustains a brain injury will experience a unique combination of symptoms that could impact them for the rest of their life.

While more research is needed to determine all of the long-term impacts of brain injury and the incidence of each symptom, many researchers agree that brain injuries cause an increased likelihood of developing:

Individuals who sustain a brain injury can face a number of challenges. According to the CDC, five years after their injury:

  • 57% are moderately or severely disabled
  • 55% face unemployment
  • 33% rely on the assistance of others for everyday activities
  • 29% use illicit drugs or alcohol

Do all brain injuries have long-term effects?

A brain injury of any level of severity can have long-term effects. However, individuals are more likely to experience brain injury-related health issues if they sustain a traumatic or a severely traumatic brain injury or if they sustain multiple brain injuries over the course of their lives. That is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a brain injury so that the individual has the opportunity to heal.

What can individuals do to help minimize the effects of brain injury as they age?

The effects of a brain injury can become more intense with age. Both physical and cognitive exercise have been shown to help combat these effects.

Below is a list of suggested activities for physical exercise:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming laps
  • Aerobics classes
  • Playing with or walking with pets
  • Gardening

Below is a list of resources and programs that can help with cognitive stimulation:

Please note that while these resources can be useful, it is crucial to examine other factors like sleep, medication, nutrition, and stress when looking at cognitive changes years after injury. There is no “one best resource.” It is also important to develop effective, balanced strategies in addition to practicing cognitive skills.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the long-term effects of brain injury, call the National Brain Injury Information Center at 1-800-444-6443 for support and resources.


Stay connected with the brain injury community!

The Brain Injury Association of America has many educational opportunities, events, and resources that are shared throughout the year. Be sure to stay in the know by joining our mailing list.

Sign up for updates