How Common is Personality Change After a Brain Injury?

April 23, 2018

Changes to personality can occur after a brain injury. Personality changes can affect relationships and professional life, and can have many other detrimental impacts on quality of life. One of the central parts of a person’s personality is how he or she feels emotion. Damage to particular areas of the brain, including the amygdala, temporal and frontal lobes, and hippocampus, can cause volatile emotions, memory loss, aggression, and impaired self-control.
Damage to the aforementioned areas also affects a person’s executive functions, which are the skills a person uses to make decisions, solve problems, use judgment, and employ social skills. When people are struggling with all these skills, they are more prone to behavioral outbursts.
Brain injuries can also damage connections between the cerebral cortex and the limbic system, which give us the ability to regulate emotions, determine how important things are, and decide how to respond to any given situation. Difficulties with any of these abilities can have a serious affect on emotional response and overall personality.

Psychiatric Issues from Brain Injuries

Psychiatric issues also often accompany brain injuries. Some of the potential issues include depression, substance abuse, panic attacks, and OCD. Certain brain injuries also inhibit neurotransmitter function, affecting thought and mood regulation.
Brain injuries can also cause serious trauma. People can develop PTSD from the experience that is heightened by the changes in personality and mood.

Common Personal Impact of Personality Changes

Personality change can damage trust in personal relationships. The victim will sometimes seem like a completely different person, so loved ones may have a difficult time trusting in him or her the way they did before the trauma.
Victims of personality change may also struggle with their integrity. They will most likely do things that they regret, which often leads to extreme guilt and sadness.
Brain injuries that cause personality changes are often difficult for family, friends, and caregivers. The victim may have unexplained outbursts or upsetting aggression directed toward his or her loved ones. Negative and antagonistic behavior can be difficult for people to process emotionally.
People who suffered a debilitating brain injury that affected their personality often have a hard time controlling their moods, so it can be difficult to argue with them. They will deny their anger or not remember it, leading to a plethora of unresolved conflicts that can take a toll on relationships.
A personality change can greatly decrease both emotional and physical intimacy. Partners will most likely be more hesitant to be intimate and vulnerable when they do not fully trust or find comfort in their other half.
Aggression can also be a serious issue for people who suffer brain injuries. They will be quicker to become verbally and physically aggressive with people in situations that would not normally warrant an aggressive response. Aggressive reactions can be difficult for loved ones to process and are likely to encourage people to distance themselves.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury that was caused by someone’s negligence, contact the dedicated team of San Diego brain injury attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP about your case today! (619) 295-0035