Alcohol-Related Brain Injury (ARBI)
The Alcohol Forum challenges the hopelessness and stigma of Alcohol Related Brain Injury and demonstrates that, for many, recovery is both possible and achievable.
What is ARBI?
Alcohol-Related Brain Injury (ARBI) is a term used to describe a number of brain conditions that result from long-term heavy alcohol use. Through repeated heavy use, alcohol can cause damage to important parts of the brain.
ARBI can remain hidden for many years before it is noticed by family or professionals. It can cause changes in a person’s memory, the way they solve problems or make decisions and can cause difficulties with everyday activities. It can make it challenging for the person to look after themselves and other commitments in their life, including making changes around their alcohol use.
ARBI in Ireland
It is estimated from autopsy studies that 1 in 8 people who are dependent on alcohol will develop some form of this condition, ranging from mild to severe.
There is no lead service for people affected by Alcohol-Related Brain Injury in Ireland – they have limited or no access to standard disability or mental health services.
In 2011, the Alcohol Forum published the first research report of its kind in Ireland which examined the incidences and prevalence of ARBI in the Northwest Region.
The absence of care pathways for people with ARBI results in many people not getting the help they need. Sometimes they are ‘blocked’ in hospital beds because of lack of support in the community or they may have to return home before they are ready or able.
Diagnosis, Rehabilitation and Recovery
If there is a suspicion that someone is showing any of the indicators of Alcohol Related Brain Injury, download our ARBI guides family and professional and it will talk you through what needs to happen next.
It is important to alert their G.P or another medical professional as they may need immediate hospital treatment.
Provide the professional with a description of the symptoms you have noticed, how this has developed over the course of time and how this differs from how the person usually behaves.
Over 75% of people with Alcohol-Related Brain Injury can recover (to different degrees) from their condition. Spotting the condition early and getting the right treatment all improve the chances of recovery.
Individuals who have a suspected diagnosis of Alcohol Related Brain Injury are likely to require support from a number of different services which could range from medium to high level.
The Alcohol Forum has a specialist case coordination service for people affected by ARBI. This service allows people with ARBI to access the supports they need as they recover. We link with other services to put together a package of care for the person. This will allow them to adjust to any difficulties they might experience and provide ongoing support and advice to families and other professionals.
Impact of Programme
Since the introduction of this programme we have seen the dramatic change that the right support can make. With evidence-based rehabilitation, people affected by this condition can move on to live more independent and fulfilling lives.
Raising Awareness About ARBI
We provide training on Alcohol-Related Brain Injury to professionals across Ireland and Northern Ireland, develop resources for family and professionals, advocate for change in the treatment of those with ARBI.
Mary's Story -Alcohol Related Brain Injury and Families
There is definitely less pressure on us as a family,
we know someone is here to help and someone to call for advice.
We don't worry about our brother as much as we use to- Family Member -
Alcohol & the Adolescent Brain
“Did you know that the adolescent years are one of the most important stages of brain development in our lifetime?