How Brain Injuries Impact Mental Health

If a loved one has recently had a brain injury, then you may have noticed how the injury has affected their mental health. Recent studies have shown that one out of five patients who have had a brain injury experience an impact on their mental health six months after their injury. 

The brain injury can significantly impact how the patient can express and process their emotions. Mood swings, anxiety, depression, and changes in temperament are all seen among brain injury patients. 

So how does a person with a brain injury heal emotionally from their injury? Time, patience, and rehab for brain injury can help patients improve and return to their pre-accident state. 

This article will address the relation of brain injuries to mental health and how post-acute rehabilitation can heal a patient long term.


How Does a Brain Injury Cause Mood Swings?

You might notice that a patient with a brain injury has a change of emotions that seem to swing quickly. They may go from happy to sad to angry, and the feelings may seem quite intense. 

The mood swings are caused by actual damage to the part of the brain that processes emotions. Sometimes there is not even a trigger that causes the patient to experience one emotion then quickly another. 

Often this leaves loved ones hurt or confused but understand that the patient cannot regulate their emotional behavior. The good news is that mood swings usually improve on their own within a few months of a brain injury. 

In rehabilitation, patients learn skills to manage mood swings. Medications also can be prescribed that can help with emotions. 

It can also be helpful for family members to seek therapy on their own to help deal with the stress of the changes in the patient. Through treatment, you can process your own emotions and learn coping skills to help with the stress of having a loved one with a brain injury. 

a post-acute brain injury rehabilitation facility

How Does a Brain Injury Effect Anger?

It is not unusual for brain injury patients to experience outbursts of anger. The patient may yell, swear, throw things, or threaten harm. 

The cause is also damage to the part of the brain that process emotions. There can also be outside stressors contributing to anger, such as job loss or financial insecurity. 

Patients may also experience depression, changes in sleep, or have difficulty with attention. All of these factors can cause incredible frustration for the patient, increasing feelings of anger. 

Family members can help by understanding the patient does not have complete control over their temperament. It’s best to try not to argue back with the patient and to try to remain calm. Setting healthy boundaries will also help all with managing outbursts. 


Why Does a Brain Injury Contribute to Anxiety?

Patients with a brain injury can feel anxious without really knowing why. Sometimes they may fear failure, criticism, feeling rushed, or even be experiencing pain. 

Anxiety can sometimes lead to debilitating panic attacks. Traumatic situations or fear of them occurring keep the patient in a paralyzed mode with the inability to move forward. Because anxiety can be pretty complicated, it is always best managed by a physician or psychiatrist. 

You can help your loved one by reducing outside stressors and by providing reassurance to the patient. Post-acute rehabilitation will help the patient develop healthy routines, start helpful medications, and offer counseling to help them learn control over their anxiety. 


Why Does a Brain Injury Contribute to Depression?

Everyone experiences sadness, especially after a serious injury, but if the feeling lasts for a long time or impacts activities of daily living, then the patient may have depression. 

There are several symptoms to look for with depression, including: 

  • Sadness or feeling of low self-worth
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest or in the pleasure of life
  • Feeling unusually tired while awake
  • Thoughts of suicide

The cause of the injury may be brain damage, life changes, environmental factors, or a combination. The physical changes that occur in the brain after brain injury, but the life changes that occur after a disability can also contribute to depression. 

Rehab for brain injury helps the patient heal from depression. The patient may be prescribed medication, participate in therapy, learn new hobbies, exercise, and feed the body good nutrition, all of which help the patient heal. Just like with any treatment, the sooner the patient gets help, the better the outcome. 


Where Can I Find More Information about Neuro Rehab Near Me?

NeuLife Rehabilitation Center is one of the best TBI rehab centers in Florida. Our treatment team works with a range of traumatic brain injury diagnoses to ultimately return home to live a whole life. This is accomplished by addressing both the emotional and physical implications of the patient’s brain injury. 

We help your loved one to get their life back. To learn more information about our services, do not hesitate to contact us today. Make a referral or give us a call at 800.626.3876.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Dedicated to providing the highest caliber of care to individuals with brain injuries, NeuLife Rehabilitation is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
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