Frequently asked questions

When can I drive again and who do I need to tell if I have had a brain injury?

This depends on the type of brain injury you have had and the symptoms you’re experiencing. You need to inform the DVLA if you have a serious brain injury. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure if your brain injury is serious and will affect your driving. Further information can be found in the Driving after a traumatic brain injury patient information leaflet and on the GOV.UK website

When can I go back to work?

It is important to rest straight after sustaining a brain injury. Some people are able to return quickly but others need more time to recover. Depending on your symptoms, when you’re thinking about returning to work, our service can support you to plan a phased return or discuss reasonable adjustments to your role.

When can I resume my hobbies or interests?

This will depend on the nature of your hobby or interest. We recommend that you avoid contact sports and activities that may place you at risk of further injury until speaking with your doctor. Completing hobbies you enjoy may be beneficial to your recovery as it can help with your mood and re-establish a routine.

What can I do to improve my memory?

It’s really common to experience problems with memory and thinking skills immediately following a brain injury. These difficulties often improve over time however our service can help you to understand and work around any difficulties you continue to experience. During your recovery it may be helpful to manage things that impact on your memory and thinking for example, getting good sleep, improving your mental health, and avoiding alcohol. You may find activities like crosswords and sudoku’s enjoyable but there is no strong evidence to support that these will improve your memory and thinking skills.

What can I do to improve my sense of taste and smell?

Sometimes after a brain injury, you may lose your taste and smell. This may return during your recovery however some people experience permanent loss these senses. Further information can be found on the Fifth Sense website.

When will I get back to normal?

This depends on the type and severity of your brain injury as well as other factors including your age, and past medical history. Some people, particularly those with a mild brain injury (concussion) will make a full recovery however those with more severe injuries may take longer or experience long-term difficulties. Our service is here to support you with your recovery and adjust to any changes you’re experiencing.

Can I drink alcohol after my brain injury?

It is recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol following your brain injury particularly in the initial phases of your recovery. A person’s tolerance to alcohol may reduce after a brain injury, so people are often unable to drink alcohol in the same way as they did before. More information can be found in Headway’s Alcohol after brain injury factsheet

When will my headache get better?

Headache is one of the most common symptoms after a traumatic brain injury, occurring in up to 90% of people. Headaches can make it more difficult for you to carry out your daily activities or to think and remember things, impacting on your quality of life. Most people with post-traumatic headaches improve within days or a few weeks, whilst others may take up to three months to recover. Occasionally, headaches can last longer and are referred to as “persistent” but this does not mean that they will never get better.