Can a head injury cause mental or emotional issues?

The physical effects of head injuries are well-known. A car accident, slip and fall, or other event can cause headaches, dizziness, vision problems, and even paralysis in serious cases if you incur a head injury as a result.

These injuries are also associated with mental and emotional effects when damage is severe. The Mayo Clinic explains the possible emotional effects of head injuries and the impact they can have on a person’s life.

Changes to behavior

While it depends on the location of the injury, behavioral changes often occur after a major brain injury. A person may exhibit erratic behavior, including angry outbursts with no real cause. They may have difficulty controlling their impulses, which leads to risk-taking behaviors. These issues usually become particularly challenging in social situations, as the person may be unable to effectively manage their behavior.

Changes to emotional response

Emotional and mental health issues can also accompany a serious brain injury. An onset of anxiety and/or depression might present, even in people who never experienced such issues before. Some people have difficulty controlling their moods, which leads to disruptive mood swings and off-kilter emotional responses. Irritability can also occur, especially when physical limitations arise and a person must adapt to these changes.

Changes to cognition and thinking

Cognition is the way your brain interprets data from the world around you. If certain parts of the brain receive injuries, then a person might experience slowed thinking or an inability to problem-solve how they used to. Memory is also affected by brain trauma, both in the short and long-term, as is the ability to focus or concentrate.

Some above effects will resolve as the person recovers from the original trauma. For others, new ways of living are necessary to adapt to the changes caused by the injury. Physical rehabilitation is a common treatment, as it can help injury victims gain strength and ability when limited.

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