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Reasons for angry outbursts after a brain injury

Brain injuries are incredibly complex, and they can change an individual's personality significantly. Emotional outbursts may become common. Below are a few reasons why these could occur.

Medical Issues

Brain injuries heal at different rates and many related medical issues can crop up -- some long after the accident. Issues could include an infection, issues with vision or hearing, headaches, general pain, poor sleep patterns, and reactions to medication.

Awareness of Loss

Even someone who heals relatively well may have lost many things, such as the ability to drive, work, or take care of himself or herself. Motor skills could be limited or there could be memory issues.

These are just a few examples, but angry outbursts can simply stem from the fact that the person is aware of what has been lost and is frustrated by it. In some cases, full healing never comes, so the person may be angry knowing that life will never be the same again and that those losses are permanent.

Excessive Stimulation

A brain injury may simply make it harder for the injured party to be around other people, even family members. Stores, crowds and loud gatherings can be too much. Excessive stimulation can cause the person to grow agitated and then angry. Depending on the injury, factors like bright lights and loud noises could also contribute. An aversion to bright lights, for example, is known as photosensitivity.

It's clear that special care can be needed after a brain injury and many adjustments have to be made. Medical care can be costly, and those who have been injured may deserve compensation. Financial compensation may also be sought for significant life changes -- such as injuries that prevent someone from working and lead to lost future wages.

Source: Psychology Today, "After Brain Injury: The Dark Side of Personality Change Part 2," Janet Cromer, accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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