There are many different forms of brain injuries, but some behavioral difficulties are typical regardless of the type of brain injury that happens. Different problematic behaviors may be more or less likely based on the location and severity of the trauma, but your loved one may demonstrate one or more of these behaviors during the course of TBI recovery, regardless of the specifics of the injury.
The first step in managing inappropriate behavior in a loved one with a TBI is to know what those behaviors are so that you can recognize them – not taking them personally, helping when possible, and intervening when necessary. Distinguishing the behavior as a symptom of the injury can help you determine the best course of action to keep yourself, your loved one, and the people in your life both physically and emotionally safe.
Empathy Issues – After a TBI, your loved one may suddenly seem very self-centered. For instance, they might demand rather than ask nicely, or say things that hurt your feelings or are unreasonable without seeming to care. The lack of empathy is not a lack of love. It is an injury-related difficulty caused by issues with abstract thinking skills.
Personality Change – Everyone encounters personality changes as they progress through life, but people with a brain injury can experience extreme, instant personality changes that can be disorienting to the people who know and love them.
Denial – It is normal for people with traumatic brain injuries to adamantly insist that they are not symptomatic. Sometimes this is due to the actual brain injury, but it also can be basic denial unconsciously executed as a coping mechanism to postpone the confrontation of fear and/or uncertainty about how to manage the realities of life after trauma.
Emotional Volatility – Emotional volatility, also known as emotional lability, is a sudden, frequently exaggerated mood swing that is often extreme and might come across as an overreaction.
Sexual Inappropriateness – A person with a TBI may have an enhanced interest in sex, a decreased interest in sex, or a lack of understanding about the contextual appropriateness of a sexual expression or behavior.
Poor Concentration – After a traumatic brain injury, a person may become easily distracted, have problems with managing multiple tasks at one time, lose track in a discussion or experience information overload.
Aggression – Aggressive behavior after a brain injury is very common. Understanding what triggers an aggressive response for your loved one can help in preventing the behavior.
Inappropriate Emotional Response – The person may not demonstrate emotional responses to stimuli that prompted those very responses prior to the brain injury. They may not laugh when something is amusing, smile when seeing something beautiful, or cry when something is sad. The response may also be contextually inappropriate, not matching the current state. For instance, they may laugh when sad or cry for no particular reason.
Memory Problems – Memory difficulties are often the first thing the general public thinks of when a person experiences a TBI. Short-term memory problems or amnesia can occur, but, surprisingly, the retention of new information is the most prevalent memory-related issue people will likely experience from brain trauma.
If you recognize what behaviors are prevalent in traumatic brain injuries, you can be ready for them as they arise and see them for what they are – an effect of the injury. They are not a representation of the person’s opinion or emotional investment in you.
If you have a loved one with a brain injury and need help with any of these difficult behaviors, either at home or in a care facility, Carolina Hearts Home Care can help. Contact us to learn more about our home care services in Rockingham, Raeford, Laurinburg, or the surrounding areas, or schedule your free care consultation at 1-855-277-2005.