Skip to Content

About Brain Injuries

Each person's needs are different after a brain injury. Our goal at UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is to help patients and families traverse the challenges of brain injury care.

We provide physical, cognitive, and behavioral health care.

A brain injury can affect your cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and physical function.

The injuries have a variety of causes, including:

  • Brain tumors
  • Intracranial hemorrhages (bleeding that happens inside the head)
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Central nervous system infections

Contact the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

Contact the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute to learn more about inpatient rehab.

Types of Brain Injuries

There are various types of brain injuries. Some are more severe than others, and each come with different symptoms.

Brain injuries can include:

Brain injuries can be closed or open, and diffuse or focal.

Closed versus open brain injuries

Closed brain injuries:

When there is no penetration of the skull.

Open brain injuries:

When something drives through the skull and into brain tissues.

Diffuse versus focal brain injuries

Diffuse brain injuries:

When the injury is spreading across the brain.

Focal brain injuries:

When the injury is limited to one space.

The Effects of Brain Injuries

Brain injury can lead to a range of physical, social, and emotional issues.

A brain injury may cause problems with:

  • Thinking and memory.
  • Behavior and social interactions.
  • Movement and motor control.

After a brain injury, you may:

  • Have problems speaking or expressing yourself.
  • Feel agitated or restless.
  • Have memory impairments.
  • Have trouble walking and caring for yourself.
  • Have some personality changes.

Brain Injury and Speech Changes

Brain injury can have a profound effect on your speech and language skills.

You may have speech changes such as:

  • Aphasia, which affects your ability to understand spoken and written words and sentences. You may also struggle to recall words or make sentences.
  • Dysarthria, which affects the muscles you use to form words and speak. You can think of what to say but can't speak, or your speech may slur or be slow.
  • Prosodic dysfunction, which affects intonation or inflection. This makes it hard to convey meaning such as irony, sarcasm, or emotion.

These speech changes can be challenging and frustrating. They affect your ability to have normal social interactions.

UPMC experts will work with you to improve your speech, language, and communication skills.

Brain Injury and Changes in Behavior

Brain injury can cause a number of personality changes including:

  • Impaired memory.
  • Poor judgment.
  • Lack of impulse control.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Irritability.
  • Anger management issues.
  • Improper emotional responses.
  • Mood swings.

Coping with these behavior problems is tough.

UPMC offers expert behavioral help for both patients and their loved ones.

Behavioral Rehabilitation at UPMC

If a brain injury is causing changes in your behavior, your doctor may refer rehab for you or your family.

Behavioral rehab can help with:

  • Problems adjusting to new constraints.
  • Depression or anxiety.
  • History of drug or alcohol use.
  • Other behavior problems.
  • Patient and family education.

Working with inpatient psychological services, UPMC's Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation offers:

  • Tests and assessments.
  • Counseling or psychotherapy for patients and families.
  • Stress management.
  • Consults and referrals.
  • Speech and language services.
  • Help with cognitive and communications skills.

Behavioral rehab consults

Sometimes your treatment team needs to learn more about your challenges to serve you and your family.

A behavioral medicine expert will interview you and your loved ones. They will then give your treatment team feedback.

Referrals to other mental health services

Inpatient brain injury rehab does not treat some issues, like problems with drugs or alcohol.

Our mental health specialists will help you find treatment closer to home after you leave the hospital.