Cok Kinzler PLLP

Do traumatic brain injuries cause emotional effects?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) results after a massive blow to the head, which can be caused by a car accident, assault, or sports injury. These injuries have a range of physical effects, including altered consciousness, disability, and even emotional issues in a number of cases. MSKTC.org explains how brain injuries impact emotions and what patients can do to cope. 

Irritability

A majority of the people who experience TBI suffer from some level of irritability. This causes emotional outbursts or makes it difficult for a person to keep control of his or her temper. Increased irritability occurs when a specific area of the brain is injured. It can also stem from changes in a person's ability, which can be hard to adjust to. Treatment by a therapist is recommended in this case, as they can provide skills for anger management. Identifying triggers is also useful since a person can work to avoid people or situations that seem to cause irritation.

Mood swings

Mood swings are characterized by rapidly changing emotions. A person may appear happy one minute only to begin crying the next. In some cases, the mood expressed has no connection to the way the person actually feels. Mood swings tend to resolve a few months after an injury occurs. In instances where they persist, medication can help control emotional instability. Friends and family can also help a person experiencing TBI by offering support and redirecting their attention when moods are rapidly changing. 

Mental health issues

Coping with changes after a TBI can be difficult. As a result, many people experience symptoms of depression when faced with the scope of their injury. This can entail a persistent feeling of sadness, problems concentrating, and isolation. A person may also develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder, such as panic attacks or an exaggerated response to situations that don't warrant it. A psychologist can help if symptoms of depression or anxiety are too much to bear. If the person is capable, participating in activities can also help deal with emotional issues. 

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