Mood Shifts and Behavioral Changes from Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can happen almost anywhere – from traffic accidents, to sports, to an icy patch of pavement outside your local grocery store. Sometimes, they are mild injuries that require little medical treatment or intervention, and you are left with no lingering side effects or conditions. Other times, traumatic brain injuries can leave you changed for life, requiring extensive and long-term medical treatment. These injuries can affect the body in multiple ways including chronic headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even comas.
However, when we get home from the doctor after a traumatic brain injury, we might not just experience physical symptoms, but also emotional and cognitive issues as well. Perhaps we’re rasher than we used to be or more susceptible to extreme anger or sadness. We might be unable to stay focused like we used to or perhaps we’re less self-disciplined. These sorts of effects may not be physically painful like the others, but they affect our lives just as much.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is when your brain is damaged, usually when your head hits (or is hit by) an object at force, either causing blunt damage or penetrating damage. When that occurs, your brain is jolted inside your skull, leading to hemorrhaging, bruising, or abrasions. Anything from a mild concussion to a gunshot wound can be considered a TBI. It is important that if you have suffered any sort of significant hit to your head – whether it’s caused from a car accident or from slipping in a puddle of water in your friend’s kitchen – you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Allowing your possible TBI to go unchecked may only worsen the injury, leading to a more disastrous outcome.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “There were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2020. That’s about 176 TBI-related deaths every day.” As we can see, these injuries are common, and they can be deadly. The CDC states that:
- Falls lead to nearly half of the TBI-related hospitalizations.
- Firearm-related suicide is the most common cause of TBI-related deaths in the United States.
- Motor vehicle crashes and assaults are other common ways a person may sustain a TBI.
What are the symptoms of a TBI?
A TBI can lead to an array of symptoms, including:
- Loss of consciousness
- Mood swings
Some of these symptoms may not make themselves known until a few days or even a week later. These are called delayed symptoms, and they are a reason why you should go to a doctor after a car accident or slip and fall accident where you hit your head. Even if you don’t think any damage was done to your brain, it is still a possibility and that is not something you want to take your time with.
How does a TBI change your personality, moods, and other cognitive brain functions?
While with most TBIs, you will experience pain and dizziness and other physical symptoms, you may also notice changes to your mood or personality. In a recent article on Insider, Rebecca Strong details the changes that occurred to her mother after a severe car accident. Some of the differences that Strong noticed in her mother included:
- Short-term memory problems. Short-term memory problems can occur when the anterior temporal lobe of your brain is injured. According to Dr. Philip Blum, a neurologist with Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Associates, this area of your brain “plays a role in your ability to remember and understand information about people, words, and objects. Injuries to this area can cause difficulties with storing short-term memories in your brain.”
- Bursts of anger/short temper. Another cognitive issue that can arise from a TBI is angry outbursts. As the prefrontal cortex plays an integral role in controlling and regulating urges and emotions, as well as making decisions, injuries to this area can affect one’s temper. Power of Patients reports that “over 70 percent of families of individuals with a TBI report the TBI victim demonstrating irritability and anger.”
- Difficulty focusing. When it comes to victims of TBIs, they experience problems with focusing, as “it may take their brains longer to process information, which can make it challenging for them to understand and respond in a variety of situations.” The ability to focus is also controlled by the prefrontal cortex, which is located at the front of your brain. It makes sense that many TBI victims experience so many cognitive issues as it is a large part of your brain, and in such instances where the front of your head is hit (such as car accidents when your head may hit the steering wheel), your prefrontal cortex is more likely to be damaged.
- Relationship problems. Strong noticed that many of her mother’s relationships suffered due to her emotional changes. She stated “TBIs can also have a lasting impact on the psychological well-being of loved ones, often in the form of anxiety, stress, and depression.” People may choose to cut off contact with someone who has suffered a TBI, as that person may be quite different from the person they were before the accident. Seventeen percent of TBI victims report suffering relational problems.
As you can see, traumatic brain injuries can hurt more than just your physical self, but your cognitive self as well. You may suffer from mood swings and difficulty focusing as much as you suffer from headaches and dizziness.
TBIs are nothing to be overlooked, and we have seen far too many people come to our offices after a car accident or some other head injury, saddled with the stress of dealing with all the injuries associated with TBIs. If a negligent driver caused your TBI, then you deserve compensation. Traumatic brain injuries can affect you the rest of your life, and the treatments and therapy they require can be expensive.
You should not have to pay for someone else’s mistake. If you have suffered a TBI, call Bailey & Greer, LLC, at 901-475-7434 or use our contact page. We have compassionate and determined attorneys who work to ensure you receive every penny you deserve. With offices in Memphis and Jackson, we are proud to serve families throughout West Tennessee.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Read more about R. Sadler Bailey