A Traumatic Brain Injury Can Lead to Aggression
When people are involved in a car accident, one of the injuries that they could sustain is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Depending on the location of the wound inside the skull, there could be emotional changes, such as increased aggression. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries impact countless families every year. Sometimes, these injuries can lead to permanent complications. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS):
- The total costs associated with traumatic brain injuries is about $50 billion a year.
- TBIs are over 20 times more common than spinal cord injuries.
- Head and brain injuries result in the deaths of close to 3,000 children under the age of 14 every year.
- Between 80,000 and 90,000 people develop lifelong disabilities related to a TBI each year.
- The majority of traumatic brain injuries are the result of an auto accident.
Why do Emotions Change Following a TBI?
The brain controls all of the body’s motor and sensory functions, including emotions. These emotions are handled by areas of the brain such as the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the parietal lobe. If an individual suffers a TBI, these lobes could be damaged by the impact. There are several ways which someone might experience a head or brain injury. These include:
- An auto accident
- A slip and fall injury
- Physical assault
- Competitive sports
- A fall from a great height
Depending on the location of the impact, the emotional centers of the brain could be damaged. This can lead to serious emotional changes. To identify small changes in the brain following an impact, an MRI scan is often required. This will localize any damage inside the brain following a traumatic brain injury. Any major changes in the brain’s emotional centers should show up on an MRI.
The Results of a Study
A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry looked at individuals who were in counseling for aggressive behavior. Thirty-one individuals were referred to the program due to marital violence. This could include physical assault, emotional abuse, or even sexual assault. On review of the medical cases, close to two-thirds of the individuals had a medical history significant for a traumatic brain injury.
Furthermore, about half of the individuals had also developed alcoholism. A significant number of individuals had also engaged in child abuse. These numbers show that aggression following a TBI can manifest itself in many forms. A TBI can drive people to drink alcohol in excess, making it even more likely that they would engage in domestic violence.
Treatment of Emotional Issues: Aggression
Emotional changes are not unusual following a TBI. In addition to increased aggression, people could also develop other mental health issues. These include:
- The development of major depressive disorder
- Possible development of bipolar disorder
- On rare occasions, psychosis can develop in the form of hallucinations and delusions