New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorneys Curtis & Co.

How traumatic brain injuries affect emotions

Most people in New Mexico probably associate traumatic brain injuries with problems relating to thought and memory, and perhaps also to physical conditions such as seizures or a coma. However, as well as cognitive issues and physical disabilities, a person who sustains a TBI may begin to suffer emotional challenges, particularly when it comes to anger and depression.

According to the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, as much as a third of those who have a TBI struggle with anger and irritability. The injury itself can make controlling emotions difficult, but the frustration due to the mental and physical disabilities may also cause people to become angry. TBI often leads to a loss of independence, and activities enjoyed before the injury may become impossible. 

Anger can also have an isolating effect; friends and family members who may be sympathetic about the injury itself may not know how to interact with a person who is frequently angry.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality explains that depression is another emotional side effect of TBI that may be directly related to the injury or may develop afterward as a result of the changes the injury causes. The estimated rate of depression is high, with more than half of those participating in dozens of studies reporting suffering from depression.

Many people with depression also frequently have issues with anxiety, addiction or other mental health conditions, and the coexistence of another problem may mask the fact that a person suffers from depression. Therefore, researchers believe that the scientific and medical community should do more to promote research regarding the combination of traumatic brain injuries and depression.


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