Relationship Difficulties After a Traumatic Brain Injury
One of the problems following a traumatic brain injury is the impact that it has on the relationships among loved ones. While the recovery following a TBI starts with emergency medical treatment, the complications do not end when someone leaves the hospital. Some of the complexities of head and brain injuries could last a lifetime. A few of these include:
- A permanent loss of motor function that can make it hard to run, walk, or even get out of bed in the morning.
- The development of chronic pain that could prevent people from returning to work.
- Problems focusing that can impact driving ability, schoolwork, and employment.
- Numbness and tingling that could lead to ulcers of the feet, ankles, and back.
- Mental health and personality changes that can strain relationships among family members and friends.
This last complication is often overlooked; however, it is no less critical. It is vital for everyone to think about how relationships might be impacted after a severe injury to the brain. Preparing for this change could help save some of the most valued relationships with loved ones.
Why do Personality Changes Happen After a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The brain is made up of a network of neurons that are divided into lobes. These lobes all serve different functions. Unfortunately, these lobes can also be damaged during traumatic events, such as car accidents. Some of the roles of brain lobes include:
- The frontal lobe is responsible for the executive function of the body, helping to process information and make multiple judgment calls.
- The amygdala is responsible for most of the body’s emotions, dictating feelings during different situations.
- The parietal lobe processes sensory information such as temperature, touch, and taste, helping the body respond in an appropriate manner.
While these are only a few of the many examples of the various parts of the brain, all three of them play a role in an individual’s personality. Damage to any of these brain lobes could lead to changes in personality. When someone’s personality is changed, the relationships among family members and friends can become strained. There are some specific complications that families members should keep in mind.
Mental Health Disorders can Impact Relationships
After a traumatic brain injury, individuals can develop a variety of mental health disorders. These problems can arise due to:
- Direct changes in the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
- Damage to one or more of the brain’s emotional centers.
- The development of chronic pain, particularly recurring headaches.
- Problems with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to a variety of mental health problems.
A few mental health disorders that people might notice after a TBI include:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar Disorder
Watching a loved one struggle with a mental health disorder can be difficult for families to bear. Mental health professionals will play a crucial role in helping an individual manage mental health disorders after a TBI. A comprehensive treatment approach with therapy, counseling, and medications is often the most appropriate response. It will be necessary for individuals to have a strong social support network during this time.
Issues with Irritability and Aggression
Another possible personality change involves irritability and aggression. As mentioned above, the frontal lobe is responsible for judgment and inhibition. Damage to this area could cause individuals to make rash decisions. This, combined with an irritability that might stem from recurring headaches or chronic pain, could lead to temper tantrums and outbursts. It is understandable that this kind of behavior could start to strain relationships. Below are some essential points families should remember:
- They need to place the safety of themselves and their children first.
- Individuals displaying aggressive behavior need to receive professional medical care.
- The prognosis of individuals suffering from these issues will vary depending on the nature of their injury.
Even the most patient families need to have help during this difficult time.
Watch YouTube Video: Relationships after TBI. This moving video tells the story of how a couple’s relationship has been affected following a traumatic brain injury.
Help from a Brain Injury Lawyer
It is essential for families to search for help as early as possible. It is helpful to meet with a traumatic brain injury lawyer in the Bay Area. Some of the resources that an experienced injury attorney might share include:
- Assistance in reviewing the records from the accident, making sure that all of the details have been considered in an appropriate manner
- Help in pursuing damages that might come secondary to the traumatic accident, the head injury, and its complications
- Guidance in negotiating with financial institutions to ensure that all bills are paid on time
- Shifting a case to the courtroom when necessary
Finally, families should not feel as though they need to face this tough situation alone. A trained Bay Area TBI lawyer can help families during the recovery process. Therefore, reach out today to learn more. Your family might be owed a large financial sum.