The Caregiver's Journey

Behavioral and Emotional Effects Overview

You may notice changes in the way your family member acts. People with a TBI may have many emotional and behavioral effects.

That’s because our brain controls the way we act and feel. An injury to the brain — usually an injury to the frontal lobe — causes changes in emotion and behavior. The life changes that happen after a TBI also affect how people act and feel.

Changes in behavior may include: 

  • Frustration, increased anger/aggressiveness 
  • Impulsivity or difficulties in self-control 
  • Faulty or poor judgment
  • Decreased ability to initiate conversation or activity 
  • Repetitive behaviors (perseveration) 
  • Less effective social skills 
  • Changes in sexual behaviors 
  • Impaired self-awareness about how TBI impacts him/herself and others

Emotional effects may include:

  • Depression 
  • Increased anxiety 
  • Mood swings (emotional lability) 
  • Changes in self-esteem

Pay attention to changes in how your family member acts and feels. Ask the healthcare team for advice. They can help your family member manage these changes through counseling, medication, and healthy coping behaviors.