Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Concussions, Brain Injuries and Personality Changes

Personality changes will be dependent upon the location and severity of the injury. Prisons and mental hospitals sadly are full of people who have suffered brain injuries which resulting personality changes have made aggressive, violent and often unable to make good choices.

Being aggressive, violent and unable to make good choices can be some of the changes in a survivor of brain injury or someone with repetitive concussions. They may also suffer from mood swings, mental rigidity, impulsive behavior, be apathetic, lethargic, are unable to show emotion, have no interests, be bored and may feel intellectually dull. If they once liked to play games, they may no longer wish to do so because they are unable to concentrate as they once did. If memory is an issue, which it often is, playing games will be increasingly difficult.

They may feel a great sense of loss after suffering a brain injury because they will feel as if they have lost their personal identity and personal power. They will feel that they don't know who they are any longer. If this is the case, they should try to find a Neuro-Psych doctor and a speech therapist who, through therapy, will help them try to fill the holes in their personalities that survivors often feel they have in how they identify themselves.

Many survivors of brain injury feel there is a stigma to having such an injury and will deny and cover up or isolate themselves rather than own-up to a brain injury. They will blame their problems on other things that are physical such as chronic pain in legs that were broken or other health issues which may or may not have been sustained in their accident.

Besides their loss of personal identity, sense of power and self-awareness, they may also lack self-determination, be unable to keep and make friends, have lost some of their memories, be unable to socially interact with others, understand the needs and desires of others as well as be unable to feel compassion and empathy. Very often their likes and dislikes will have changed as well as their sense of humor. They may no longer have a sense of humor or be interested in anything at all.

With so many losses, it is little wonder that a brain injury survivor's personality is likely to change at least somewhat. Not only is it difficult for the survivor but it is difficult for his/her family and spouse. They have lost the person they once knew and will feel the loss themselves. They have to get to know that person again as he/she may be quite different from who he had previously been.

In the case of concussions, some damage, regardless of severity will be sustained so multiple concussions can cause more damage. Both concussions and brain injuries can leave the survivor with deficits. Personality changes are the result of deficits.

Sometimes personality changes may only be really evident to those closest to the brain injury survivor. Others may say, 'He just isn't the same.' or 'Something seems off.' without being able to pinpoint exactly what the difference may be. But often it is enough of a change for even those unsure of what the change is for friends to not visit as often as they once did.

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