New Article regarding emotions and brain injuries

Found this article thanks to our twitter feed today.

One of the most confusing issues when dealing with traumatic brain injuries is the effect that it has on the individual’s personality and emotions.  When we bang our head, we may expect some pain at the location of the injury, maybe a slight headache, or even in severe cases some dizziness.  What is harder for us to understand is that even a minor traumatic brain injury can cause changes in personality and emotions, either temporary or permanent.

This type of injury is often difficult to diagnose because in most situations, the medical staff will not have a great familiarity of the individual’s personality before the accident.  For instance, and individual may seem like a very shy person to the medical staff, but they have no way of knowing that the person was a lively extrovart before the accident.  In many situations, it is up to family members and other loved ones to point out the personality changes.  In many situations, this does not happen because the family may think the person changed in response to a near-death accident.  In cases of mal temper or increased instances of anger, the family often will attribute it to stress or physical pain.

A very common occurrence after a traumatic brain injury is that the patient begins to withdraw from their previous life.  A major component of this is because of confusion, both on the part of the patient, and on the part of the family and associates in the individual’s life.  In many situations, family and friends are not sure how to react to the changes in personality they see which leads them to treat the injured person differently.  The patient feels confused because the people around him appear to be treating him inappropriately.  I person who is now shy will be disoriented and confused when friends treat them like the center of attention.

The most dangerous result of personality changes caused by traumatic brain injury is depression.  The victim will sometimes feel like their friends and family don’t really know them anymore, which causes further isolation, which leads to depression.  This is compounded by the fact that the personality change may lead to divorce, unemployment and the loss of any close relationships.

One of the most important steps a doctor can take when treating a traumatic brain injury patient is to let the family know to report any changes in personality and emotions.  This is made difficult by the fact that a severely traumatic experience will rightlyfully change some people’s lives.  The other difficult aspect is that often times the damage done to the brain can cause emotions like resentment or egocentricism which will make the patient unable to accept the fact that something is wrong.


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