Dealing with the Emotional Problems of Traumatic Brain Injury
July 4, 2015
Long after medical bills are paid and any other scrapes, bumps, and bruises have healed, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can continue to affect your life in profound ways.
Even “mild” traumatic brain injury can affect the way your brain functions, causing headaches, difficulty thinking, and memory problems. In moderate to severe cases, TBIs can impact your emotions, changing the way you feel and interact with the world.
Some of the most common examples of emotional problems experienced by TBI victims include:
Mood swings. Mood swings can be defined as the experience of sudden and intense emotions that materialize and end very quickly. People with TBI may have uncontrollable outbursts of crying, laughter, or rage for no apparent reason. Oftentimes, mood swings are a result of damage to the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Depression. After experiencing a TBI, it’s not uncommon to feel sorrow, frustration, and despair. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unable to move on because of these emotions, you may be suffering from depression. Common symptoms of depression include loss of joy in activities and things you once loved, changes in appetite, trouble focusing, feeling tired, and having thoughts of dying. Depression can be a result of the damage caused by a TBI to the part of the brain that controls emotion.
Anxiety. Victims of traumatic brain injury often experience anxiety—a sense of fear, apprehension, and worry that is unfounded or exaggerated. If you have anxiety related to a TBI, you may often feel anxious without reason, or worry excessively about making errors or performing poorly. You may also feel anxious in environments such as large crowds, places where noisy activities are occurring, and in traffic. This is because TBI can affect your ability to concentrate and make decisions, which can be overwhelming in situations that require concentration or information-processing.
Quick temper. Studies have found that as many as 71 percent of traumatic brain injury victims experience irritability or a quick temper. Sometimes, victims may have outbursts of temper where they shout, swear, and physically harm objects and people around them. This is often caused by damage to the brain that controls emotions, but it can also arise out of the frustration of having difficulty concentrating, expressing oneself, or processing information.
Help for Victims of TBI
If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional problems such as mood swings, depression, or irritability after a traumatic brain injury, consult with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to recommend psychological or psychiatric evaluations and treatments that can help you manage your emotions and work towards recovery.
Medical and psychiatric professionals may also be able to prescribe medications that can address these problems, such as anti-depressants and sedatives. Work closely with your doctor to determine whether such medications are right for you, making sure to make follow-up appointments and report unusual symptoms.
And if your TBI was a result of an accident, dangerous condition, or the negligence of another person or entity, consult with a personal injury attorney with experience in traumatic brain injury cases. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and options before working with you to hold the guilty party responsible. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to secure much-needed compensation for medical, psychological, and psychiatric treatments, as well as overall pain and suffering.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.