After a Traumatic Brain Injury: The Impact of Personality Changes

For brain injury survivors, life can change drastically in every way possible. Their loved ones and caregivers may even notice extreme personality changes. This is because traumatic brain injuries can result in a multitude of neuropsychological issues, including behavioral problems and personality changes.

It’s not uncommon for a person living with a brain injury to become frustrated or lose his temper without warning. This is because damage done to certain areas of the brain causes people to be unpredictable in their emotions and behavior. As a result, some brain injury victims experience unexplained anger, confusion, and mood swings.For some people, personality changes may simply mean certain aspects of their personality are exaggerated. For example, someone who was quick to anger may become even more easily angered after suffering head trauma. For others, a brain injury could result in a complete personality change from easy going and complacent to aggressive and hostile, for example.

This is not to say that someone with a brain injury won’t display any of their pre-injury personality traits. Families of brain injury survivors may still see glimpses of the person they knew prior to the head trauma, but they may also have to adjust to a whole new person in a lot of ways.

How a Change in Personality Impacts a Family

Unfortunately, a change in someone’s personality can cause a change in relationships and affect family dynamics for life. For this reason, families of brain injury victims need to learn how their loved one’s personality is affected and how it can impact the family in the following ways:

  • Communication. Brain injury victims often have a difficult time communicating what they are feeling. Sometimes, they are aware they are not acting like themselves but don’t understand why. Also, they may be struggling with memory loss, which can affect the way they communicate
  • Trust. Personality changes can lead to angry outbursts or verbal and physical aggression, which can be frightening for family members. When people change, relationships have to be rebuilt and people have to get to know each other all over again for trust to be there.
  • Companionship. When a victim’s personality and behavior changes, it can negatively affect a marriage. The spouse without the brain injury may feel lonely, as even intimacy is affected by a personality change.

While some brain injury victims suffer personality problems occasionally, others have behavioral outbursts daily. Because brain injuries can influence someone’s mood and thoughts, it is important that families of brain injury survivors come to understand how a brain injury can impact them and seek help to learn techniques for dealing with their loved ones and improve communication.