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Anger Following Brain Injury

Comments [36]

Tedd Judd, Ph.D., Hispanic Neuropsychological Society

El Enojo Después de Lesión Cerebral
Multimedia

Kinds of Anger after Brain Injury

Anger is a very common problem after brain injuries.  When someone with a brain injury has a problem with anger, there are usually several causes acting in combination.  Some people are angry about the injury or problems that may have come with it, such as disabilities and loss of job, friends, money and control over one’s life.  Some people were angry people before their injuries and still have that problem.  People who have always been angry may need psychotherapy to help them learn to cope, and in some cases medication is required.  (In our experience, people unfamiliar with the person or with brain injury are often too quick to assume that personality alone is to blame.)   But many people also develop impulsive anger as a direct effect of the damage to the brain.  In other words, the parts of the brain that normally inhibit angry feelings and behavior have been damaged and do not do their jobs as well.  This means that the person’s anger threshold is lowered so that he or she becomes angry more easily and more intensely.  We can tell that this impulsive anger is directly due to the brain injury when:

  • The anger begins with the brain injury or is made much worse by it
  • Angry feelings come and go relatively suddenly
  • Anger episodes may be in response to minor events
  • The person having the angry episodes is surprised and embarrassed or distressed by them
  • The anger is made worse by physiological stress such as fatigue, pain or low blood sugar

This was the problem Joe had.  Joe was a quiet man, an accountant; active in his church and an assistant little league coach.  He never drank or used street drugs; he was healthy; and he had never been in a fight or in trouble with the law.  He was well liked in the community.  His wife said that he rarely got angry, and when he did he usually sulked.  When his car was hit by a drunk driver and Joe hit his head on the window, all that changed.  He had been knocked out for five minutes but after he was checked out at the Emergency Room they sent him home.  He went back to work a week later but had trouble concentrating and remembering.  Worse, he started yelling at his wife and children, often for little things like laughing loudly at the TV.  One day at work, he broke a computer keyboard by hitting it with a stapler; and he sometimes tore up papers he was working on.  After each of these episodes, he would be very embarrassed and apologetic.  He came for help after loudly cursing at his daughter because she was playing with her program at a Wednesday evening church service.

With Joe, it was clear that he was having impulsive anger resulting from his head injury.  When other more familiar causes of anger are also present, such as difficult personality, alcohol abuse, or anger at the injury itself, the impulsive anger resulting directly from the brain injury can get overlooked.  It is important to try to identify and treat that part of the anger too.

Dealing with Impulsive Anger Resulting from Brain Injury

When brain injured people first wake up from a coma, they are usually disoriented and confused and often they are agitated.  They do not understand what is going on around them, and they are not truly responsible for their own actions.  It is up to the people taking care of then to keep them safe, even if this means restraining them or using medications when absolutely necessary.  As they recover, they gradually come to be able to control their actions.  Their staff and families can then gradually teach them about the best ways to manage their angry feelings.  Because brain injured people’s “anger thresholds” or “flashpoints” have been lowered, they need to relearn how to manage the changed reactions.  They need emotional rehabilitation in addition to physical and cognitive rehabilitation.

Understanding the Anger

The brain injured person is, in some ways, a different person.  What makes him or her angry may be different.  We need to learn what those things are.  Here are some common factors that contribute to anger after brain injury.

Anger Factors

Stimulation factors:

  • High noise or activity level
  • Unexpected events
  • Lack of structure

Personal factors:

  • Frustration
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Embarrassment, shame or guilt
  • Discovery or confrontation of problems
  • Cognitive impairments – especially memory deficits and confabulation (remembering things that did not happen)
  • Communication impairments
  • Rigid thinking

Medical factors:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Medications (levels low or high?)
  • Alcohol or drugs

Anger Warning Signs

Speech signs:

  • Loud high voice
  • Cursing
  • Name calling
  • Threats

Behavioral signs:

  • Making fists
  • Increased movement and fidgeting
  • Angry face
  • Moving towards the object of anger
  • Breaking things
  • Throwing things
  • Threatening people
  • Searching for or picking up weapons
  • Hitting, kicking and other forms of violence

Physiological signs:

  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart
  • Sweating
  • Over-aroused
  • Tense muscles
  • Flushed face
  • Bulging eyes

Mental signs:

  • Fantasies of doing any of the speech or behavioral signs
  • Negative thoughts about others
  • Confusion
  • Feelings of frustration
  • Feelings of fear or anxiety
  • Feelings of embarrassment, shame or guilt
  • Feelings of hurt

Early Strategies

These strategies are for staff and families to use when the brain injured person is too confused to be responsible for his or her actions.  It is important for staff and families to remember during this time that the anger is due to the injury, and they should not take it personally.

Prevention

  • Make the environment safe
    • Remove potential weapons
    • Keep alcohol and drugs inaccessible
    • Keep vehicles and dangerous tools inaccessible
  • Regulate Level of Stimulation
    • Some need to avoid over stimulation
    • Some need to be kept busy and distracted
  • Provide Appropriate Level of Supervision
    • Provide the least restrictive environment possible
  • Provide Reorientation as Needed
    • Much of the anger in an agitated confused and disoriented person can come from misperceiving and misunderstanding the situation
    • Staff and families should frequently remind the person of where they are, what is happening and why

Management

  • Withdraw
    • Leave the person alone for a short period of time if this can be done safely. As you leave, tell them briefly what you are doing and why. “You are beginning to get upset. We are going to leave you alone for a few minutes so you can calm down.”
  • Distract
    • Change the subject, the focus of activity or the location
    • Use a concrete object as a focus when possible
  • Reorient and Reassure
    • Remind the person of where they are, what is going on and why
    • Try to clear up misunderstandings when this can be done without renewing argument
    • Direct the person in activities that may reduce agitation, such as guided relaxation

Self-Control Strategies

These strategies are to be phased in when the brain injured person has recovered enough learning abilities and awareness to begin to cooperate in learning to control anger.

“Back Off, Calm Down, Try Again”: Because the impulsive anger resulting from brain injury often comes and goes suddenly, an effective way to deal with it is for the angry person to back off, calm down and try again.  This strategy can be phrased in the individual’s own words or whatever expression is comfortable such as “retreat, relax, return” or “take a break” or “time out”.

Back Off: When warning signs appear, the person should leave the situation and go to a safe place. Others will have to cue him or her to leave. If the person will not leave, the other people present should leave instead, if possible. Practicing backing off when not angry (like a fire drill) will help this go more smoothly when it is really needed.

Calm Down: When the person has backed off to a safe place, he or she should work on claming down. Many techniques can be used to calm down including:

  • deep breathing
  • soft music
  • meditation
  • prayer
  • closed eyes
  • physical exercise

Preparing to Return: Once calm, the person may need to rethink the situation and prepare to return. 

Reviewing a list of questions is a possible preparation;

  • Do I need to apologize? 
  • Do I need to explain why I left? 
  • Do I need to tell anyone my feelings? 
  • What can I do to avoid this next time?

Here are some statements to encourage rethinking the situation;

  • “I don’t hate my mother; I’m just angry with her”
  • “Maybe she had a point I should listen to”
  • “He’s not wrong, we just disagree”

Try Again: When the person returns from backing off and calming down he or she may need to

  • apologize,
  • talk through the issue,
  • explain the backing off and feelings
  • resume what he or she was doing.

Once a person has learned to back off, calm down and try again successfully, he or she can work on calming down in the situation without leaving.

Anger Cue Cards

Anger cue cards can be used to remind the brain injured person of their warning signs such as Loud Voice, Tense Muscles, Confusion, or Thoughts of Hitting. These cards should be carried by the brain injured person and optional copies can be placed where anger incidents often happen or where backing off takes place.

A Back Off card might say:

  • “I’m feeling angry, I need to back off”
  • Leave the room
  • Breathe deeply
  • Relax muscles.

Angry Reactions to Brain Injury

Anger at the cause of injury:  The victim of an injury may be angry at the cause of the injury such as a drunk driver, an assailant, a corporation or a government.  Such people often need help finding effective and satisfying channels for their anger.  Often, they can talk this out with a trusted friend or family member.

Grief Reaction: It is part of human nature to grieve when we lose something, not just when someone dies, but also when we suffer an injury or illness. We try to find reasons for our losses. One part of a grief reaction is anger at what we think caused it. This anger can also get displaced onto any handy target. People can work through these reactions by talking out their feelings. This is such a human experience that it usually does not require a psychologist, just a trusted and understanding person. However, poor memory or judgment or emotional or personality problems can complicate grief reactions and psychotherapy may be needed.

Frustration: When frustration contributes to angry reactions, the person needs to be trying easier things. Specific preparation can also be given before difficult tasks. For example, “Now it’s time to go shopping. I know this is sometimes frustrating for you. How will you know if you are starting to get frustrated, and what will you do about it?”

Normal, Legitimate Anger: Brain injured people still have legitimate reasons to get angry. If their legitimate anger is discounted, ignored or “treated”, they may get angrier. If they have expressed their anger inappropriately, their angry actions should be dealt with separately from their legitimate complaint. They should not get their way just because they made a fuss, but the complaint should not be ignored.

Brain injured people often have impaired judgment which can contribute to anger problems.  Cognitive rehabilitation for judgment can help.  People with these difficulties need to check their judgments with caregivers or people they trust.  Alcohol and drugs can contribute to anger problems.  The clearest solution is abstinence but abuse programs or counseling may be needed.  Not taking prescribed medications can also contribute to anger problems.  The doctor should be told if the medications have not been taken as directed and if there have been any problems.

Conclusion

Anger is a common problem following brain injury.  It has many causes, and there are many solutions to be tried.  The rehabilitation team, the family and friends and the brain injured person can all work together to understand and manage the problem to help the brain injured person to work towards recovering self control.

Source: Hispanic Neuropsychological Society. Used with permission. http://hnps.org


Tedd Judd, PhDTedd Judd, PhD, Tedd Judd, PhD is adjunct clinical faculty in psychology, University of Washington and adjunct faculty in psychology, Seattle Pacific University. Much of his work has focused on traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.


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Comments [36]

I've played hockey for a very long time and then I added lacrosse a short time ago. I never had a real head injury until a few years ago then it seemed I got them quickly a lot in a short time. I only went to the doctor after the last one -- in which I was hit near the temple by a lacrosse ball with no helmet. That he one that has made me choose to leave sports (due also to the fact I've fractured my L5 twice separated my SI joint and my knees permanently dislocate. But back to what I was saying, I've had a bad anger out burst problem and they were always unprovoked. They've caused me to lose the love of my life and I'm just now seeking help.

Sep 14th, 2016 11:18pm

I was nearly beaten to death 12 years ago, and after 6 years of therapy and numerous medications I still have irrational anger outbursts. Thank goodness I'm still not violent, but after reading this I wonder why I never got emotional rehabilitation along with the cognitive and physical therapy. And I can't help but wonder why I just learned about confabulation. This explains a lot, while at the same time it's making me reevaluate the entire incident and recovery process.

Sep 7th, 2016 9:30am

My daughters severe TBI from a MVA 3 years ago has been one long nightmare. No one told us about the extreme anger. We are dealing with it now but I had to leave for a while because of the physical abuse and being told that I was the cause of her anger (I know now it is the brain injury) just devastated me.

Sep 6th, 2016 5:20am

I was in practice for football got a concussion and now I get mad all the time over nothing I don't understand and I hope it doesn't last

Aug 29th, 2016 9:44pm

Understanding should've come first and then together the two of you could have identified what was going on and resolved the issues appropriately ....rather then by abandonment due to the unknown ! Here's hoping you helped him through his differences! God bless!!!

Aug 20th, 2016 3:22am

just recently ended a relationship with a man i love. he would have small raging fits and tantrums. he played college football, a linebacker. our story ended suddenly after he hit me for placing an order of fast food on the armrest of his truck. in that instant i became afraid of him. the smallest of things would bring about the worst tantrums. i wish he could have had some help.

Jun 20th, 2016 7:49am

I got my first TBI in 07 as a result of a IED exploding beside my Humvee while in Iraq. I was knocked out for almost an hour and when I woke up I didn't know who I was or where I was. I found out a few days later what had happened and that my skull was cracked I also had a subdural hematoma on the frontal lobe of my brain. Well over the years my anger has gotten crazy then in 2013 I got another concussion when I had a wreck on a motorcycle and I bounced my head on the pavement and laid there in a puddle of blood for about 30 minutes before I woke up. It was 4am out in BFE no one around so I managed to get the bike up and look it over then I had to ride it back home then I went to the ER. Since then my anger has gotten worse and I blow up on my girlfriend and my family for the dumbest shit. I hate myself so much at times I've tried to od on heroin because of it then went to rehab. Things are up and down still and like tonight before finding this site I raised my voice at my girlfriend for telling me she might get a promotion at work. I did it for no reason other than I know she hates her job. I love her more than life itself but I'm going to loose her if I don't stop. I was a happy guy once. I miss that guy and want to be him again so bad.

May 27th, 2016 12:10am

Thank you everyone who commented! My husband fractured his skull when he was 15. He had fractured it in 11 pieces. We have been together for almost 7 years but he is still struggling worse than ever before. We are experiencing financial pressure and I think it's adding to the rage and anger. Even though I'm super frustrated I am not willing to leave him. I love him more than I dislike his tantrums but your stories are helping me understand what he might be going through. He has never hit me or the children just storms out all the time....won't talk to me sometimes for several days.

May 10th, 2016 12:13pm

I have been a brain injury patient for ten years had long term concussion syndrome and then received a devastating head injury and one more a year later I've been suffering from anger control issues before the Injury when I was angry in the beginning i could not control it it was like being on steroids all of a sudden I have tried to find peace and tranquility through Buddhism the anger eventually progresses to being all the time and I describe it as being the hulk when I get mad it's never pretty I've gotten better at controlling the outbursts but at the cost of my own health i was getting so angry and holding it in I would get sick and throw up get headaches and clench my jaw and muscles till they were sore I've been on mood stabilizers and anti psychotic before and they don't really help I just felt dead inside and dumb has anyone found a way of dealing with or releasing the anger I've tried art boxing weight lifting running gardening singing therapy anger management cognitive behavior therapy nothing has made the anger subside I just wish for an answer to alleviate the anger just for a few hours a day some how any recommendations would be great thanks

May 7th, 2016 11:08pm

3 years ago i was t boned on my drivers side door on the highway. I was making a left hand turn in a turning lane into a residential road with my signal light on. Someone decided to pass 3 cars behind me and failed to see my signal light. He was going 120 km/hr and i was turning at maybe 10 k/hr. I was knocked out unconscious and woke up in the ditch. My vehicle was destroyed. My anger is still here although not as bad as it was. I find myself having anger outburst and holing myself back from violent episodes. I was never an angry person. I don't know what's wrong with me and it seems like doctors don't want to help and no one wants to listen. No one can sympathize. I've lost a sense of myself and my happiness. My partner drinks a lot and has a way of turning everything into my fault so i think I've done something wrong constantly which doesn't help with my stability....im so confused.

May 5th, 2016 11:36am

I'm on head injury number 4. first I was hit in the head with a small piece of petrified wood when I was 5. When I was 14 I was hit by a car and both my legs were broken on top of a closed head injury from hitting the windshield. Number 3 was a huge metal plaque that fell on my head from a high place. the fourth and final was a scooter accident and I was intoxicated. My head struck the street and I got up and went home and went to sleep. The next day I didn't feel right and I went to the ER to find out that my brain was slightly bleeding from the impact. Ever since getting hit my a car, I have always felt an anger growing inside me. I back talk, smart off, yell, cuss, argue over small stupid things. I get confused easily and frustrated constantly. My Gf is pretty much ready to leave me because I can't control my emotions. I want to help myself, but I can't afford health insurance to go see a proper doctor. I keep reaching out but I don't think people understand what's going through my head. Its like a constant stampede running through and I want it to stop so I can live a normal positive life.

May 2nd, 2016 7:42pm

"Can it be helped?" The answer is yes, to some degree. In some studies, taking fish oil 1-2 grams per day reduced irritability by 30% in patients. Cardio exercise reduces irritability. Anger management classes or groups can be very helpful with TBI patients. Also, regular mindful meditation can have a huge impact on anger levels (see UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center for podcasts).

Apr 17th, 2016 8:56pm

I'm dealing with someone with anger issues after being hit in the head with 2500 volts of electrical power. He can't control his emotions.

Apr 16th, 2016 6:59pm

My husband had a shunt put in as a baby after meningitis caused scar tissue where the spinal fluid flows. He was left with brain damage in the areas of the brain having to do with spatial abilities. Whenever I'm frustrated with him, he loses it and starts talking about how I don't understand his deficits. He does the same thing when I'm upset about the marriage and his lack of desire to get help.he somehow thinks if I just never got frustrated with him he would be fine. I can be extremely hurt and he will only get angrier. I'm ready for a divorce as he has limited ability to see anything but his deficits. I'm tired of hearing about them. His IQ is otherwise above normal. 

Mar 23rd, 2016 9:43pm

It's somewhat refreshing reading this. I've had issues with holding jobs before due to ptsd from abuse as a child and as an adult I was attacked and nearly killed. My skull was cracked with impact of the fall in the concrete but it was the subdural and epidural hematomas that almost killed me. Now thre years later I was getting angry and upset and it cost me my job. And my boss sorta used it against me. Ironically after coming back from stress leave and finally succumbing to the fact that I needed antidepressants now I'm stressed about being jobless or worse what if I do find a job and find myself in a similar situation? Not sure what's more scary not having a job or having one I think I'm going crazy help!!

Mar 16th, 2016 2:00am

Just had a severe concussion 4 months ago while on vacation in Mexico. It was pouring down rain and I slipped on the slick flooring that these resorts install to make the places look nice. Anyhow, my fiance came to look for me after I did not return from going to the bathroom. I was in a pool of blood after falling and splitting my head open on the marble flooring. I was told I was unconscious for around 15-20 minutes and do not remember the events preceding the fall or around 6 hours after. I am still having issues with remembering things that I should not be forgetting and the anger is ridiculous. I get mad over the most unimportant things and cannot control when it happens. I sometimes try and speak to friends and cannot pronounce the words I am trying to say and feel like a complete idiot and I am hoping they are not noticing. My fiance is about to leave me because she cannot handle the anger and me saying things that are hurtful. I don't know how long this will last and I hope it goes away soon. Best of luck to all of you.

Mar 2nd, 2016 12:13pm

I was struck by lightning and hit my head and was out for 10 minutes. I started getting angry, yelling at anything. My impulse was to hit and throw things. I was yelling at family for being to loud or laughing etc..just dumb stuff. Had a brain MRI but Nuerologist said he saw nothing that indicated a TBI. Funny cause I have bad word recall, draw blanks in the middle of my sentences, have dizzy spells, depression, was crying over nothing. I'm on depression meds now. They help out a lot. I'm wondering if the doc even knew what to look for?

Feb 25th, 2016 1:27am

I had a TBI 20 some years ago after being ejected through the rear window of a car...seat belt was broken. Meds and psychiatric visits followed. I was clinically broken for nearly ten years. I worked a few jobs but nothing lasting. Finally held down a job at an airport worked my way up to supervisor and then hit my head again under an aircraft landing gear door. It split my head open and it looked like a baseball with all the staples it needed to seal me up. After that I ended up having to quit I was very angry and deathly afraid to get near a plane again. 5 years later I now have a job at a dairy and have been off on stress leave twice due to the shifts changing and anger and drug problems. I'm now in a 12 week mental health program. And its calmed me down a bunch. Funny thing is meds were pretty strong slipped on the staircase twice and took two more concussion s. The anger came back and I'm fighting to get back to work. This is a hard battle and you must continue to fight if you give in which I know is so easy sometimes you may lose it all. I'm sorry for those that have lost everything already but its never to late to seek help, meds, Dr.s whatever you can reach out to. And don't forget to be grateful once a day for something. Stop and breathe just stop and breathe, we can change. I believe in you. And you should too. Everyone has a plan until they get knocked down. Remake yourself. Good luck and my thoughts are with you all tbi's suck bad but im gonna fight with my last breath for my family and for myself and friends. One last thing if you cant love yourself youll never be able to love anyone. We can do it- I can do this. We may not be our old selves. But we're still alive and can keep fighting. C.

Feb 6th, 2016 11:56am

I know exactly what you're going through! I suffered a severe TBI in 2007, but I was in a coma for 2 months as well though. I can honestly admit that life is a little better, but after almost 9 years I am still on an emotional rollercoaster ride; I lost my marriage in 2012 and have not been able to hold down a viable relationship since. I am at my wits end; my immediate family are back east and I am here in the prairies suffering somewhat quietly. I'm sorry that things are difficult for you, I can only say that I feel your pain. :( Please hold out hope; somehow I still do after all this time. Take care of yourself.

Jan 8th, 2016 8:18pm

I crashed a quad 2 months ago. I hit a dirt embankment at approx 60mph. I dont remember anything after the impact or driving home after the crash. I had been laying on the ground unconscious for approx 20 mins. I walked into my house covered in blood and dirt. I had no idea what happened. Within 5 minutes I didn't even know I had been on the quad. I was asking my wife what happened over and over. Aside from my physical injuries which are healing, and BPPV. I have not felt like my self since. At times I have severe brain fog. Trouble finding words. Extreme emotional ups and downs. I obsess about things. I have severe anxiety and anger towards my wife. I seem to have no control over it. I feel extremely embarrassed after it happens. At times thoughts of suicide. I was depressed before the crash but nothing like this. My neurologist told me to expect complications nothing about the anger and anxiety. I had blood work done which revealed low b12 levels. This could be due to the stress. Also low cortisol from my adrenal glands. I was prescribed a handful of vitamins and supplements which have yet to make any changes in me. I am at a loss. Next stop is a psychiatrist. I'm going to lose my wife over this.

Jan 7th, 2016 12:29am

I had a severe brain injury that knocked me out for about an hour and a half. I would sometimes get angry before but recently I would get angry over very small mistakes. One of these times I walked down the street in winter wearing only a tank top and flood pants. I was walking in the middle of the road yelling at, and threatening every car or house that passed me forcing cars to drive around me while the unsuspecting drivers sped off.

Jan 5th, 2016 2:26pm

My husband is so angry I can barely stand it anymore. The remote doesn't change the channel fast enough...rage! I laugh too loud or talk too loud...rage! I laugh at all or speak when not spoken to...rage! I walk around my home biting holes in my tongue to keep from lashing out. I can understand being angry at times but most of the time its for minor things. And of course it's all my fault. I'm so frustrated and I don't know what to do. I don't want to leave him but things are getting real ugly. HELP

Dec 15th, 2015 10:31pm

Dallas, you take care of yourself. I've had 14 concussions and if I could go back to being 13 when I too had 2, I would have stopped playing hockey. I promise you'll heal and get back to normal from your 2 but don't risk your life to keep playing. Believe me when I say it isn't worth it. The more you get, the less of a person you seem to become and that anger amplifies and depression takes over. Never lie on your concussion protocol. Only ever go back when you're yourself again, that includes the memory and anger problems. Your life will round out to have so many possibilities other than soccer, so just remember that it isn't worth your life. Suicide may never be in your thoughts now but the more you get, the harder it is to hang on to people and enjoy your life and have clear thoughts and then the thoughts creep up on you even though the thoughts don't seem to be your own. Please be careful.

Nov 15th, 2015 6:14am

Hi im Dallas Gill, im 13 years old and i have sustained already 2 concussions. Both of which i sustained playing soccer. Soccer is my everything and it caused me more problems in my life than ever. After i suffered from the second one, i have tons of anger built up all the time. Please if you or someone you know has all this anger get help it can result it things that are un able to be taken back. I don't even remember some of the things i have supposedly done.

Nov 1st, 2015 9:06pm

I suffered a concussion 8 months ago and my life has changed for the worse. Im 34 yrs old..I have angry outbursts all the time now..and my fiance just left me. I had to quit my job. I cry constantly. I try to take it day by day but the grief is SO thick, almost suffocating. I lost me. And so much more. No one understands because i look fine. Tired but fine. There isn't alot of help out there from doctors. . The best treatments I've found are fish oil, exercise, eating a clean diet, tumeric, making sure I get enough sleep (which never happens, I have an 18 month old) acupuncture, a therapist who knows about tbi, and I'm starting neurofeedback soon since I've heard alot of success with brain injuries. Worst thing to ever happen to me. I remember laying in bed next to my fiance just a week after it happened and I said "Im going to lose everything. I can feel it" and 8 months later I'm still watching it all slip away even as I put everything I have into trying to help myself and stop thus and turn it all around. I'm hanging on by my fingertips. I need a miracle

Oct 28th, 2015 1:18am

Last year l fell down a steep flight of stairs. My roommate found me semiconscious. I was admitted to the hospital for one week. There they said l had concussion from the fall.since then, I almost have recovered from stuttering , memory is much better, focusing is still a problem but one thing l wasn't expecting to be faced with is anger issues. Before the fall, l was quiet and calm and in control of my emotions. But now l can go from being calm to frighteningly angry in a matter of seconds. It scares me. I often get embarrassed. I don't like not having any control over my emotions. What l fear is that l could really hurt myself or anyone else should a confrontation arise. I'm scheduled to see a neurologist in a few weeks.

Oct 19th, 2015 6:46pm

Interesting article. Anger like any emotion can be controlled. I have epilepsy as the result of a serious head injury in the Marine Corps. I had real anger issues at first and then I decided to do something about it. I found a job where anger was not only unacceptable but costly. I was a commission salesman for over forty years. I made an above average income especially during the last 26 when I was a stockbroker. And, no, I didn't hold it in. I replaced it.

Sep 9th, 2015 6:32pm

My experience with anger, volatility and depression are related my brain injuries yes injuries. The guilt the shame at my behavior is absolutely crippling. What it has done to me and my family can never be taken back. If I just would have known but that's not possible since the old me is gone. I have tried to put in measures to gain space at times when I need it. But people who know but just see me standing in front of them and forget what I'm going through. I look normal, no 1/4 of my skull is missing. Some people love to push, and manipulate that is not a wise thing to do with someone who is trying to keep things constantly in balance as a way to survive. I am constantly trying to keep the demons at bay. Coming upon this site today may or may not help in the long term but in the short term it has reminded me of what I'm dealing with I too have forgotten. I often forget myself the path I am on until like today I search for reasons why? The good things that have come out of it, and there is good, I play music now, I take time to gather my thoughts or leave when I feel cornered. I'm thoughtful and considerate of other peoples situations and try to give people a wide berth. I have a better appreciation for my good days thou they maybe few. I wish i could remember what has happened to me sometimes. Haha i forget to remember auuggghhh! I have had to spend thousands of dollars because none of this was covered by car insurance Healthcare not a thing. I was diagnosed. I knew, something was wrong. I was never treated, simply put I was told there is no help. i love i care i live one day i hope to be alive.

Sep 8th, 2015 3:17pm

I've come accross this website not knowing what I was looking for and just realised this is a condition. My brother had a quad bike accident and I found him by chance semi-conscious, jaw snapped in half, cut down the head a smashed ankle with his leg bone sticking out. I live 70km from nearest major town 0and took about 40mins for an Ambo from which he was eventually airlifted out. Luckily he recovered physically but the hardest part has been his anger, which till now I never understood. I took over a farm by myself at 19 & my brother came and lived with me at 15, we were always best mates and in business together. Now post accident he is very angry and blames me for every or anything that happens. And the rage, he was a very smart calm person. Everything we've worked for is kind of falling apart. I'm a bit overwhelmed to read other peoples stories that it lasts for years or forever. Sad to think that's it. If anyone can comment below on things they've tried or support. I'm very limited being far from a town and running my own business 7 days a week.

Aug 26th, 2015 7:52am

My partner has a frontal lobe injury from 20 years ago. He takes away household takes like cooking, cleaning - which he does well - THEN he feels overwhelmed and yells that he does everything. He absolutely refuses to let anyone help because we don't do things as he does. He's broken every door in the house, slammed every doorknob into the walls. He threatens to punch me, he has spit on me for not agreeing with him, he pushed me into the door yesterday because our car got broken into and he was convinced it was some guys from up the street but all that happened was someone threw our glove box contents around and I offhandedly said, "That sounds like kids." And he lost his mind for me not agreeing with him and it culminated with him slinging me by my arm into the back door and shoving me outside. He later will alternately claim he is sorry or I need to agree with him but it's always "an accident." 
I try to leave the room when he starts yelling and getting angry but he only follows me. I need some guidance for what to do here... is it time to cut my losses after almost 20 years. He's just getting worse and worse and completely blame me and our 10-year old son. 

Aug 23rd, 2015 3:01pm

I suffered a tbi 8 years ago. Spent some time on life support. Thought I was fine. Found a great woman who has twins and we had another baby. I watch as I have irrational outbursts with actions I cannot control. I scare myself. Want to check myself into the hospital. It keeps getting worse and I'm so confused. I want to bury a hole and hide in it forever. It's so hard. I have so many other traumatic things that have happened to me in my life time. Am I a monster or a survivor? Monster, evil, devil. All are words that describe myself. 3 months I lost my job, my family at home, and most of my support team is gone as well. Help

Jul 19th, 2015 9:50pm

Anger after tbi is a huge problem for my family. My spouse, who was such a calm person before the car accident, has morphed into such an angry person who is so prone to yelling and screaming, often without provocation. I am not a fortune teller and cannot easily predict what will set him off. As much as I can provide a calm and peaceful home environment and as often as I try to be accommodating and cooperative, he still lashes out in anger. It's been almost 16 years since his accident and his anger is destroying our family. I don't think we'll be together for much longer and it breaks my heart. He was such a good person before his tbi and I miss who he used to be. My heart has been heavy ever since his tbi. It destroyed our lives.

Jun 27th, 2015 11:14am

Interesting!!!

Mar 23rd, 2015 12:58am

My TBI was nearly 42 years ago. In the last ten years I have had increasing issues with anger, especially when I get frustrated after dealing with my children but at times it is with other issues. Six years ago I divorced my first husband. I still have times when he pushes my buttons. I know the intense anger is from the head injury. I just don't know what to do about it, how best to control it without feeling drugged.

Jan 24th, 2015 5:26pm

(Responding to the previous comment "can it go away") My control difficulties are completely irrational. I feel as if the "real" me is an observer unable to stop what is happening. Initially, I dealt with the problem by trying to warn people I had difficulty in this area. That was a bad strategy. It worked part of the time, but was was just as likely to put others into a defensive mode that actually made it more likely I would loose control.

The strategy that worked was recognizing that my "anger" was actually an extension of the confusion I experience due to mental fatigue when I encounter too many things to think about, and I start feeling mentally drained. I can usually feel my thoughts slowing, but sometimes my first warning is noticing my speech is getting "thick." Slurred and slow speech and slow reactions (sometimes only discernable because other start talking over me, and not waiting for me to finish) are danger signals. 

When I recognize I am in that state, it is time to immediately withdraw. Unfortunately, many situations don't allow for sudden withdrawal. My solution was to never go anywhere alone, but to always have a "backup" person with me who understands my situation and can take over for me. For example, I take one of my adult children with me when I go shopping, and I do all of my decision-making before I leave to go shopping, going over my list and comparing it with the store's online specials. Then I shop as long as my thinking is clear, although I have had days in which I considered my thinking clear, but strangers were coming up to me and asking if I was "OK..." Obviously my self-evaluation of clear thinking is not always correct. (My kids took away my car two weeks ago...) 

When I become aware I am slipping into a confused mental state, I turn over control to one of my children, and they take over for me. That is how I avoid irrational outbursts. 
 

Oct 21st, 2014 5:27pm

can it go away? or is it something permanent we have to learn to control?

Sep 22nd, 2014 4:09pm


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