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Meet the Metaphor


Alcohol and other substance use after brain injury is a growing concern to many rehabilitation professionals. Studies of persons with brain injury confirm that use of alcohol and other substances interfere with optimum recovery, and may even lead to additional injuries and death. But for many of those we serve, "using" is part of their way of life. And even those who haven't used int he past are vulnerable because of boredom, depression, and the heightened effects alcohol and other drugs after brain injury. The challenge is to education persons with injuries, family member, and program staff about the dangers.

At the Ohio Valley Center, we use a metaphor in our educational programming, comparing the brain to a computer. The brain is the basic computer, and it operates using software that are the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs controlling behavior. After brain injury, new knowledge about the effects of alcohol and other drugs is needed. But, only the brain's operator can decide whether to install the new software. We give them the information and invite them to make the changes.

This basic information is contained in "User's Manual for Faster, More Reliable Operation of a Brain after Head Injury", or User's Manual. The metaphor was selected because the vast majority of those we serve are young, and were "media savvy" before their injury.

In preparing this Programmer's Guide, it seemed natural to extend the metaphor. Those of us in rehabilitation programs are like programmers - making software available to the computer (brain) operators. As developers of educational software, rehabilitation professionals need a systematic approach that provides "user friendly" programs so that the people we serve decide to avoid substance use and improve their recovery.  

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This website has been funded with financial assistance from Grant #H133A120086 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation for the current funding period of 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017.