Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can lead to a wide range of serious physical effects. These injuries can also have an impact on a person’s cognitive ability and thinking.
Emotional effects are another possible consequence of TBI, and families, in particular, can find it difficult to navigate these effects. This guide explains how TBI impacts emotions and what family members can do to cope with mental changes.
Temper issues are quite common after a major head injury. A person may be prone to outbursts and irritability, even over seemingly minor occurrences. They may yell at or insult their loved ones, which is very hurtful. Some people experience irritability out of frustration over their new physical limitations, or the injury may impact the part of their brains responsible for regulating emotions. Counseling is often beneficial, and family members should look for ways to reduce their loved one’s stress.
Mood swings are uncontrollable changes in emotion. One minute, a person might appear happy and elated, and the next they become sad and depressed. Most people experience mood swings temporarily, but there are medications that can control tumultuous emotions until the person is further along in their recovery.
Depression and anxiety
Depression causes feelings of persistent sadness that can last for weeks or even months. Anxiety can cause a general feeling of worry at all times, as well as periods of intense panic. Both issues require counseling to help the person sort out their feelings and cope with them in a healthier way. Medication is also beneficial for mental health issues, particularly when the problems are disruptive to the person’s daily life.
Professional medical assistance, including mental health help, is key to living a fulfilling life after a TBI. However, patients also need a strong social support system in the form of friends and family. Joining a peer support group with other TBI patients is also very beneficial.