Do Brain Injuries Cause Personality Changes?

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Do Brain Injuries Cause Personality Changes?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) affect everyone differently. An injury that may result in memory loss in one person may result in muscle weakness for another. However, TBIs do have one thing in common. Brain injuries may not only affect people physically, but they can also affect them mentally and cognitively. This means that TBIs can affect just about every aspect of a person’s life, making them among the most complicated and difficult-to-treat injuries.

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What are the early indicators of a traumatic brain injury?

Johns Hopkins Medicine states that a TBI describes different types of brain injuries. The damage can be confined to one area of the brain (a focal TBI) or affect multiple areas of the brain (diffuse).

After suffering a brain injury, in addition to physical symptoms like headaches or vertigo, a patient might also experience changes or effects to their emotions or personality. People with TBIs might exhibit depression, aggression, or agitation – even if they’ve never shown that type of behavior or emotion before. For some, it can be a startling change.

These changes occur because of damage to the frontal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobes control what we call “executive functioning,” an ability that allows us to do things like control impulses, plan ahead, or prioritize tasks. People with injuries to this area of the brain are much less likely to consider the consequences to their actions or behaviors. Often, family and friends have to tell a TBI victim who has behavioral disorders that they should be examined by a physician.

Johns Hopkins states that some of the indicators of social, physical, and cognitive difficulties after a traumatic brain injury are as follows:

  • Social difficulties. These include difficulty making and keeping friends, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, and difficulty understanding and responding to the intricacies of social relationships.
  • Personality or psychiatric difficulties. These include irritability, anxiety, depression, a lack of motivation, and depression. Other signs of personality disorders after a TBI include a lower frustration tolerance level, loss of temper, cursing, aggression, and inappropriate sexual behavior. “Certain psychiatric disorders are more likely to develop if damage changes the chemical composition of the brain.”
  • Cognitive difficulties. These include confusion, lack of attention, memory difficulties including amnesia, lack of judgment, difficulty solving problems, an inability to accept multiple commands at the same time, a lack of awareness of others, the loss of space and time, and an inability to understand abstract concepts.

Mood and personality changes after a TBI

Everyone’s recovery process from a brain injury is different. Some symptoms may clear up over time, some may last for years, and some may be permanent. It may be easier to adjust – either as a brain injury survivor or as a caretaker to a person with an injury – by keeping an eye out for the following common issues:

  • Erratic moods. Mood swings and emotional ups and downs are common after a traumatic brain injury. People can go from happy to mad to sad in a snap, for what feels like absolutely no reason. This happens when the area of the brain that controls emotion is damaged, making properly managing emotions difficult or even impossible.
  • Loss of trust. Brain injury patients may have begun having issues with trust, even among their friends and families. They might start feeling and acting paranoid, accusing innocent people of things or acting suspiciously themselves. Patients with severe injuries may even experience hallucinations or delusions.
  • Memory loss. Similar to dementia, memory loss from brain injury can also affect a person’s personality. Patients may not remember who their friends or family are, or they may now be unable to process new memories. Memories and experiences shape our personalities, so the loss of these affects who we are.
  • Impaired judgment. When the frontal lobe is injured, so is the center of the brain that controls impulsive behavior and rash decision-making. People with brain injuries may suddenly engage in new and reckless behavior like gambling, extramarital affairs, violence, or drugs.

What are the treatments for TBI victims with personality disorders?

Personality changes and mood swings following a brain injury can be confusing and challenging for both the victim and his or her loved ones. It’s crucial you’re compensated for your injuries so you can get the assistance you need to continue on your road to recovery. Each patient requires different treatments for personality disorders.

In addition to working with many types of therapists such as occupational therapists who focus on daily living skills, TBI victims can often benefit from treatment by psychologists, neuropsychologists, and psychiatrists who are trained to diagnose and treat emotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues.

Part and parcel of a victim’s emotional care is working with the family of the loved one to address changes in lifestyle if the victim can’t handle their finances and other issues. Educating the family about the needs of a TBI victim is a critical component of a patient’s rehabilitation.

According to a study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of the therapies that help TBI victims with personality disorders include cognitive behavioral therapy, “dialectical behaviour, mindfulness, and acceptance and commitment therapies.”

If you suffered a brain injury in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, talk to the Delaware lawyers at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman today. We understand the complexities of these cases and will fight for full compensation for your injuries. Our skilled attorneys have offices in the Wilmington, Seaford, and Newark areas. Call 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form today.