Traumatic brain injuries can change how you think and feel after an accident. According to MSKTC, emotional changes occur because of damage to different brain regions. Also, the TBI can change the chemicals that control the brain, leading to changes in how a person expresses emotion.
After a TBI, you may find it challenging to cope with your injury. Most people have to become accustomed to the limitations of the injury. While this can cause emotional changes, physical injuries can also change how you feel.
Depression and anxiety
TBIs can cause fatigue associated with depression, but sadness and grief are also common following the accident. Depression symptoms manifest as feelings of sadness and irritability. Sometimes depression symptoms show up early on in recovery, whereas for some patients, they appear much later. With depression, it is common to feel like you cannot concentrate, cannot eat or sleep. For some, depression manifests with a lack of sleep.
Before the depression, some people experience anxiety. You may have an intense fear of what caused your accident. In addition, anxiety can appear in situations where you never felt it before. TBI can cause panic attacks and feelings of ongoing stress.
If you handled stress well before, that could change after a TBI. Small amounts of stress can trigger an emotional reaction. To try to reduce your stress response, try to take deep breaths and learn new relaxation techniques. Sometimes having a routine can help you avoid feeling like you suffer from too much stress. Remember that you cannot get over your distress by hoping it goes away.
Emotional changes can affect how you function in your daily life and hurt relationships.