While Rockin’ for Rehab has always been a hugely successful event benefiting our Lansing chapter, we’re working hard to re-imagine the evening of food, drink, music, and fun so that it benefits not just Lansing, but our Flint and Tri-Cities (Saginaw/Bay City/Midland) support groups as well! More good news: We’re also exploring how to provide transportation for survivors who wish to attend Rockin’ for Rehab. Details will be shared as soon as possible, but for save-the-date purposes, this year’s Rockin’ for Rehab will be held Friday, December 7, at the Michigan State University Club from 6:30 pm – 11:30 pm. Perennial favorite Dr. Fab and his Off the Couch Band will perform your favorite hits from the 1950’s – 60’s. Admission is $65 per person. For attendees desiring hotel accommodations, a block of rooms has been set aside at the adjacent Candlewood Suites. When making reservations, be sure to use the block name “Rockin’ for Rehab-BIAMI” and enter block code “RFR” to reserve a room. Candlewood Suites reservations can be reached at (517) 351-8181.
BIAMI is excited to announce we’re expanding this year’s Quality of Life Conference to include four new, informative, and very timely sessions. Here’s a sneak preview:
- Dealing with Phone, Mail, and E-scams, presented by the Michigan Attorney General’s office
- Sexuality and Relationships after a Traumatic Brain Injury, presented by Deborah Adams from Eisenhower Center
- Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain, with Dr. Sarah Wice and Emily White from Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation
- Creating Your Recovery Based on Your Unique Talents, presented by Courtney Wang from Galaxy Brain and Therapy Center and survivor Barbaranne Branca.
As a videographer, a big part of what I do is capture moments and create experiences out of those moments through storytelling. As I build a story through editing, it’s crucial to carefully listen to each interview in its entirety to put together the most cohesive final product. Often times during my editing process, I cannot help but immerse myself into the story being told by that individual. Prior to each interview with the brain injury survivors, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect, but what I learned is that you can overcome any adversity with great support and the desire to keep moving forward in spite of. I was informed during many of the interviews that brain injuries are sometimes undetectable to the average onlooker. Through the testimonies of these survivors, I’ve witnessed the obligations they have to reinforce to others that, even after their unfortunate causes and situations, they are still human beings who are capable of joy, love, and deserving of happiness. This project was special to me because it opened my eyes to a situation that is poorly represented and discussed. However, I am excited that these survivors have a platform such as the Brain Injury Association for Michigan to tell their story, inform the masses, and possibly give hope to other survivors just like themselves. This experience has been great for me and I am glad that I had the chance to be a part of it! Thank you, Sean Bowman Captured Screens Productions, LLC
Pictured above: Angela Haas, author of blog post
You have likely dealt with substance abuse before, whether it’s in your family, a friend of a friend, or someone you are working with now. If so, you know that substance abuse has an effect on everyone, but that effect is especially dangerous for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. For brain injury survivors, alcohol and drugs can increase the likelihood of seizures, and can also have dangerous interactions with individuals’ prescribed medications. In addition, alcohol and drugs affect our brains differently, and can have a much more powerful effect on someone with a brain injury. Just as importantly, alcohol and drug use may increase the likelihood of re-injury, as survivors under the influence are more likely to engage in behaviors such as impaired driving, or suffer difficulties with balance or impulsive decision making. Some of the most bothersome cognitive impacts of TBI include issues with decision-making (mentioned above), as well as problem solving, short-term memory, low inhibition, and decreased awareness. Alcohol and drugs can exacerbate all of these symptoms, unquestionably impacting recovery -- which is why complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs is the healthiest and safest choice to aid in brain injury recovery and sustainability.
Risk Factors for Addiction
- Alcohol/Drug use or dependence prior to obtaining their brain injury
- History of mood disorders
- Current depressive disorder or symptoms of depression
- Addiction to tobacco
- Family history of addiction
- Poor social skills
- Early use in adolescence
- Stress at home
- Unhelpful support group or lack of natural supports
- Lack of health insurance or access to health care
Questions to ask if you fear that you or someone you love may have an addiction and need support
- Do they go through withdrawals if/when they stop using?
- Do they have to take larger amounts or over a longer time period than intended?
- Has their use resulted in a failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home?
- Have they continued to use despite continuous problems with using?
- Have they made unsuccessful attempts to cut down?
- Do they have cravings, or a strong desire to use?
- Have they given up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of use?
- Do they continue to use in situations where it is physically hazardous?
- Do they continue to use despite knowledge of having physical/psychological dependence?
- Do they spend a great deal of their time obtaining, using, or recovering from its effects?
Want help?There are many avenues to find support, whether one has commercial insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or no insurance at all. You can call your local Behavioral Health Authority, and talk to someone who can immediately assess your need for treatment and link you to the appropriate resources. Treatment can involve medical supervision, individual or group therapy, peer support, 12 step recovery, case management, family therapy, and psychiatric services. Below are several links depending on your need:
- Contact MI 2-1-1: Help is available 24/7. This is accessible via phone, live chat, text, or by searching online.
- Michigan’s Opioid Treatment Directory (SAMHSA)
- Find a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meeting in your area
- Find an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) Meeting in your area
- Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI)
- Self-medicate for severe/chronic pain from their injuries
- Cope with the trauma that they have endured
- Try to combat their symptoms of depression due to a loss they have experienced in their life
- Escape from their new reality
- Use due to an underlying mental health condition
Sam Howell, a brain injury survivor, and his parents share an important message about distracted driving.