What is Brain Disorder ?
Within the Brain Disorders Programme of Victoria, we define "Brain Disorder" in a broad way which includes most people with:
- any Brain Impairment or Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or Neurodegenerative disorder such as Huntington's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other rarer syndromes,
Brain disorders disorders are unfortunately common in individuals under the age of 65 in our community. The disability and disruption to lives that these conditions can cause is increased when they are associated with psychiatric disturbance. This might be disturbance present prior to, or developing as a result of the brain disorder, and could include problems such as psychosis, mood or anxiety problems, personality change and impulse control problems.
- who have significant comorbid psychiatric or behavioural disturbance
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
The ABI & Mental Health Manual (published by DHS, Melbourne, Australia, 2004) quotes the "national" definition of ABI and it's subtypes as follows:
"...injuries to the brain which results in deterioration of cognitive, physical, emotional or independent functions. It can also occur as a result of trauma, hypoxia, infection, substance abuse, degenerative neurological disease or stroke. These impairments to cognitive abilities, sensory or physical functioning can be either temporary or permanent and cause partial or total disability or psycho social maladjustment."
List of ABI subgroups
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Alcohol Related Brain Injury (ARBI)
- Substance Related Brain Injury (SRBI)
The complete Manual and it's related Issues Paper are available in PDF format by clicking on the link below:
ABI & Mental Health Manual and Issues Paper, DHS, 2004
Psychiatric illness in association with Acquired Brain Injury or Neurodegenerative disease may vary widely in its presentation and response to treatment. Even what may seem a more clear cut psychiatric illness, such as psychosis, may be influenced in its presentation or treatment by the presence of co-morbid cognitive or physical problems.
Many of the psychiatric problems seen in this setting relate to problems with impulse control and, arguably, do not always coincide with definitions of mental illness required for access to mainstream psychiatric services.
The philosophy of the Brain Disorders Programme (BDP) revolves around a belief that these are often grossly disabling problems and that specialist mental health services (including our BDP) have specific assessment and therapeutic skills that may be valuable in their management of such psychiatric syndromes, irrespective of whether they satisfy criteria codable by major psychiatric classificatory systems such as DSM and ICD.