Often, after a brain injury or concussion, people who are normally easy going may suddenly find themselves experiencing bouts of anger. The part of the brain associated with high level thinking and solving problems is called the frontal lobe. The association of anger and brain injury is due to trauma or damage to the frontal lobe. Many express feeling that their emotions just ‘come to the surface and overflow’.
Even if you are calm and balanced, suddenly anger and rage can happen seemingly from nowhere. Members of your family and friends may be shocked. It seems so “not you”.
Of course, sometimes anger is natural when one has a brain injury even without an organic cause. You might be depressed over not going back to work, the loss of friends or you may experience anger due to changes you are feeling regarding impaired cognitive function that impedes your daily life.
More frequently, however, the cause is organic and results from damage to the frontal lobe.It’s important to family and friends to understand that it’s not the normal “you” who is angry but that the anger is coming from an organic brain defect (brain injury).
The frontal lobe usually inhibits angry feelings and when it is damaged, that emotional gating is no longer present.
Angry feelings can be stimulated by high levels of noise, unpleasant surprises or lack of structure in your life. Additionally, it is well known that pain and fatigue simply make the situation worse.
A neuropsychologist is an expert who is most qualified to diagnose a brain injury as well as give coping strategies to help the brain injured person as well as the family help these anger issues.
Sometimes, a doctor can prescribe a medication, such as methylphenidate, which has been shown to be helpful in dealing with anger.
As a Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney , I have seen many brain injured patients who experienced severe anger problems. It’s important for attorney’s and staff as well as family members to recognize that the anger is not “personal” and with time and understanding will abate.
I’m Ed Smith and if you or a family member are suffering from a brain injury, please feel free to call me anytime. My number in Sacramento is 916-921-6400 or elsewhere in California at 800-404-5400.
Comic Attribution: By User:Tomia, original image en:User:Polylerus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons