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The Unanctipated Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

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The Brain Injury News and Information Blog has an informative post concerning the less recognized but equally concerning consequences of a traumatic brain injury: the behavioral changes of the individual.

The damage to the frontal lobes and temporal lobes causes a host of behavioral problems including emotional difficulties, personality changes and disinhibition.

Oftentimes, family and friends that act as care provider to the traumatically brain injured (TBI) patient are on the receiving end of uncontrolled behavior which can result in emotional scars if not physical harm to the providers. For those that are responsible for caring for a TBI patient, precautions should be put in place to protect not only the TBI patient but also those around him. Good practices might include restricting unobserved contact between the TBI victim and young children, limiting exposure to dangerous instrumentality’s, and creating a plan of action when tempers and emotions escalate to uncontrollable levels.

I have handled case for clients whose injury had effected their ability to make reasonable judgments and in turn led to immediate need for medical and psychological intervention to keep the patient and their loved ones safe. For example, as unbelievable as it sounds, I have had a TBI client stick her hand in a boiling pot of water to remove the hot dogs she was cooking exhibiting no understanding that the water would burn her hand. I have had a client who prior to injury was a father of the year candidate, act out toward his own young children in a manner that could have been harmful without intervention; and yet after the event he exhibited no recollection of what had occurred. I have also seen a client’s family, that was very close prior to the injury, express fear for their own safety where the emotions of a their brain injured brother became unstable and his actions became threatening.

The doctors can prepare loved ones for the physical changes that a TBI patient may experience but there is little that can prepare a family for the behavioral effects of a traumatic brain injury until they can witness the effects of how their loved one will respond to the injury. It is wise to hope for the best and prepare for the worst so as to protect the injured patient and those that support the patient from what cannot be predicted. Establish a network of doctors, psychiatrist or counselors, family, friends and others that can be relied on and don’t be afraid to ask for help.