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Behavioral & Emotional Symptoms

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Depending on what part or parts of a person's brain are injured, the individual may experience significant behavioral and emotional changes. The frontal lobe, for example, helps govern personality and impulsivity. If damaged, there might be no "braking mechanism" for self-control. A person may find he cannot control his anger or aggression. He may also make inappropriate comments to friends or strangers not realizing they are off color.

Or the opposite might happen -- someone's personality may become muted or seemingly emotionless. This is called "flat affect."

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Brain Injury & Depression: An Unexpected Outcome
Personal Stories | February 6, 2017
My relationship with clinical depression goes back almost three decades. For reasons that even those intimately familiar with brain injury would be at a loss to explain, my depression virtually disappeared after my injury.

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Survival Tips for the Holidays with a Brain Injury
By: Linda W. Arms | October 21, 2016
With an injured brain, the holiday season can burden us with more fatigue, more stress and perhaps some sad emotions. We will be able to enjoy ourselves much more if we prepare ourselves for the holiday season.   Here are some tips that work for me since my brain injury

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Reaching Back in Time – a Message to My Younger Self
August 1, 2016
Summer is such a fun time of year. In fact, it’s my favorite season. What better time of year than to talk about suicide?

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The Loneliest Season
December 22, 2014
"The truth is I was so lonely I was worried I was going crazy. At night, I would close my eyes and silently speak to the husband who no longer existed," writes caregiver Abby Maslin.

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The Importance of Getting Your Teenager with TBI to Join a Support Group
By: Jeanne Dise-Lewis, PhD | Ask the Expert | December 30, 2013
It’s hard to get teenagers to do anything they fear will make them feel “other,” but a TBI support group will help during recovery.

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Measuring Empathy and Sensitivity to Emotion in Adults Who Had a TBI in Childhood
Research Update | November 4, 2013
In this study, researchers looked at the long-term effects of emotional sensitivity in adults who had sustained a TBI as children.

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Even Small Improvements Post-Brain Injury Can Help the Body and the Mind
By: Elliot Roth, MD | Ask the Expert | October 28, 2013
Rehabilitation to help with functional skills may help with depression as well.

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What Is the "Concussion Dilemma"?
By: Jeanne Dise-Lewis, PhD | BrainLine Kids, Ask the Expert | October 7, 2013
What type of parental response will best assure a child’s complete recovery from a concussion?

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What Is "Systematic Desensitization" and How Can It Help People with TBI?
By: Jacqueline Borg, PhD | Ask the Expert,BrainLine Kids | August 26, 2013
Sometimes it takes baby steps to help someone with TBI make successful changes in their routines.

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How to Help People Who Have Trouble Coping with Their Brain Injury
Research Update | July 22, 2013
Early screening for alexithymia following TBI might identify those most at risk of having difficulty coping.

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Ritualistic Behavior After a Brain Injury
By: Celeste Campbell, PsyD | Ask the Expert | June 24, 2013
Ritualistic behavior after a TBI is often associated with feelings of lack of control.

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Why Does Everything Seem So Surreal After Brain Injury?
By: Emilie Godwin, PhD | Ask the Expert | June 24, 2013
Some people with TBI may experience “depersonalization” and/or “derealization.” Read on to learn more.

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Anger Following Brain Injury
By: Tedd Judd, Ph.D. | June 4, 2013
Anger is a very common problem after a brain injury. Learn how to understand and deal with different kinds of anger.

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What Is Emotional Flooding?
By: Jacqueline Borg, PhD | Ask the Expert,BrainLine Kids | June 3, 2013
An injured brain needs rest. Without it, even the most mundane activities can overwhelm someone with TBI.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of TBI?
By: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke | May 20, 2013
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.

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BrainSTARS: Receptive Language
By: Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, PhD, Margaret Lohr Calvery, PhD, and Hal C. Lewis, PhD | BrainLine Kids | February 1, 2013
The difficulty learning from language alone may make it appear as if the child with TBI is not listening.

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BrainSTARS: Mental Flexibility
By: Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, PhD, Margaret Lohr Calvery, PhD, and Hal C. Lewis, PhD | BrainLine Kids | February 1, 2013
A child who is not mentally flexible has trouble responding appropriately to changes in routine. Here are some options for success.

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BrainSTARS: Regulation of Emotion
By: Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, PhD, Margaret Lohr Calvery, PhD, and Hal C. Lewis, PhD | BrainLine Kids | January 31, 2013
During calm moments, teach your child some alternate strategies to use when she is angry or frustrated.

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BrainSTARS: Self-Regulation
By: Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, PhD, Margaret Lohr Calvery, PhD, and Hal C. Lewis, PhD | BrainLine Kids | January 25, 2013
Remember that disruptive behavior is always more likely when a child is tired or in a situation that is stimulating, unstructured, or confusing.

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Study to Determine Lifetime Prevalence of Brain Injury Among Prisoners
By: BrainLine | Research Update | October 9, 2012
A substantial proportion of prisoners reported having experienced a TBI during their lifetime, something that could impact their success once released.

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Understanding Your Child's Behavior After a Severe Brain Injury
By: Jeanne Dise-Lewis, PhD | Ask the Expert,BrainLine Kids | September 25, 2012
As children with severe TBI move from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, their needs and wants change; behavior problems can serve the function of drawing attention to a changing need.

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The Capgras Delusion: You Are Not My Wife!
By: Jenni Ogden, PhD | September 11, 2012
Injury to the brain can result in a person believing close relatives are imposters. This phenomenon is called the Capgras Delusion.

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Study Suggests "Anger Self-Management Training" Is Beneficial After Brain Injury
By: BrainLine | Research Update | August 7, 2012
People who have both problematic anger and cognitive impairment after TBI may benefit from specific psychoeducational treatment.

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What You Need to Know: Symptoms of Concussion
By: BrainLine | June 11, 2012
The signs and symptoms of concussion are evident soon after the traumatic event, while you may only become aware of others days or weeks later.

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How to Deal with a New, Angrier Version of a Beloved Husband and Father?
By: Emilie Godwin, PhD | Ask the Expert | April 30, 2012
Family counseling is crucial to help everyone deal with the emotional effects of a brain injury.

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Monitoring Athletes Symptoms After a Concussion: Verbal Questions or Written Questionnaires?
By: BrainLine | Research Update | February 13, 2012
What is the most effective way to track recovery from concussions in athletes?

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Planning Ahead After a Brain Injury is Related To Better Outcomes
By: BrainLine | Research Update | November 28, 2011
Learn why it's better to "plan" than "avoid" after a brain injury.

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BrainSTARS: Adolescent Self-Regulation
By: Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, PhD, Margaret Lohr Calvery, PhD, and Hal C. Lewis, PhD | BrainLine Kids | November 8, 2011
Despite their age, adolescents with self-regulation difficulties after brain injury require the amount of supervision and structure typically provided for younger children.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Counseling After Brain Injury But Were Afraid to Ask
By: Katy Wilder Schaaf, PhD, Lillian Flores Stevens, PhD, and Stephen Smith, PhD | October 27, 2011
Life after a brain injury can be overwhelming for both the survivor and family members. Learn how counseling can help.

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If I Look So Good, Why Do I Feel So Bad?
By: Jeffrey Kreutzer, PhD | October 27, 2011
The fact that brain injury is often an invisible injury can be painful. Learn how to react to people's questions and comments.

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Recognizing Other People’s Facial Expressions Can Be Hard for People with Brain Injury
By: BrainLine | Research Update | September 6, 2011
An inability to perceive others’ emotions can make communication and social interactions difficult.

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Why Do Some People Develop Psychiatric Disorders After a Brain Injury?
By: BrainLine | Research Update | August 15, 2011
Psychiatric disorders are common and often debilitating after a brain injury. Learn who is more at risk.

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Stress Management: How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress
By: Helpguide.org | June 15, 2011
Stress affects everyone, but it can be worse for people with a brain injury. Here are some indispensable, general strategies.

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Stress Symptoms in Relatives After Severe Brain Injury
By: BrainLine | Research Update | June 7, 2011
Post-traumatic stress can affect a person’s family members, too.

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Traumatic Brain Injury Among Homeless Persons
By: Healthcare for the Homeless Clinicians' Network | May 19, 2011
Information on improving the ability to identify, assess, diagnose, treat, house, and create aftercare services for homeless people with TBI.

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Coping Skills and Self-Esteem Are Important After a TBI
By: BrainLine | Research Update | April 18, 2011
A study looking at the implications of self-esteem and recovery after a TBI.

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Normal Tantrum or Signs of a Brain Injury?
By: Dr. Jane Gillett | Ask the Expert,BrainLine Kids | February 7, 2011
How parents can work with their child’s doctor and school in case of an undiagnosed brain injury.

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Hallucinations and Delusions After a Brain Injury
By: Brian D. Greenwald, MD | Ask the Expert | January 17, 2011
Can certain medication, social isolation — or both — cause psychiatric problems for someone with a TBI?

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Flat Affect and Brain Injury
By: Dr. Celeste Campbell | Ask the Expert | November 15, 2010
A brain injury can sometimes limit a person’s ability to express emotions — temporarily or permanently.

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Understanding Everybody's Behavior After Brain Injury: Don't "Don't"
By: Harvey E. Jacobs, PhD | October 13, 2010
Behavior can be one of brain injury’s most perplexing challenges. Learn more.

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Why Does My Wife Ask the Same Questions Over and Over?
By: Elaine Phillips | Ask the Expert | October 1, 2010
Learn what perseveration is and how to cope after a brain injury.

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Effects of Psychological and Biomechanical Trauma on Brain and Behavior
By: Thomas W. McAllister and Murray B. Stein | October 1, 2010
Learn more about combat-related psychological and biochemical trauma.

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Back to School After a Concussion
By: Pat Sublette, Oregon TBI Education Coordinator | BrainLine Kids | July 1, 2010
Addressing cognitive, academic, or behavioral issues in students with TBI early will help with school success.

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Why Has My Sister's Personality Changed Since Her Traumatic Brain Injury?
By: Dr. Celeste Campbell | Ask the Expert | July 1, 2010
Emotional regulation can be challenging after a brain injury.

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Risky Behaviors and Brain Injury
By: Michael Paul Mason | Ask the Expert | June 1, 2010
Therapeutic intervention can change lives.

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Emotional Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury
By: Tessa Hart, PhD and Keith Cicerone, PhD | April 1, 2010
Emotional changes can be very tricky after a brain injury -- for the injured person and his family.

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Working to Improve Emotional Processing After Brain Injury
By: BrainLine | Research Update | February 1, 2010
Treatment may help people with TBI decipher emotional clues.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder and Brain Injury
By: Dr. Celeste Campbell | Ask the Expert | December 1, 2009
Research is not conclusive, but we do know that the risk of mood disorders increases.

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Motivation After a TBI
By: Dr. Celeste Campbell | Ask the Expert | July 1, 2009
Behavior can change after a TBI. Learn the causes and how to help.

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Interventions For Behavioral Problems After Brain Injury
By: Carrie Beatty, CBIS | June 22, 2009
Success in adapting to changes after injury depends greatly on support from your social network.

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Managing Intense Feelings
By: Laura Taylor and Jeffrey Kreutzer, and Taryn Stejskal | June 19, 2009
Learn how to use your emotions to your advantage.

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Managing Crises and Stress Effectively
By: Laura Taylor and Jeffrey Kreutzer | June 19, 2009
Remember: no one is immune, but these strategies may help.

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Coping with Loss and Change
By: Laura Taylor and Jeffrey Kreutzer | June 19, 2009
Rate yourself and learn some helpful tips for life after brain injury.

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Building Relationships and Overcoming Loneliness
By: Jeffrey Kreutzer and Laura Taylor | June 19, 2009
A brain injury doesn't mean you have to be alone. Take this self-assessment and learn skills to connect with people.

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Recognizing Others' Emotions After TBI
By: BrainLine | Research Update | June 1, 2009
A difficult skill to teach.

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Neuroanatomy of Behavior After Brain Injury
By: Joanne M. McGee, PhD | May 20, 2009
You don't like my behavior? You'll have to discuss that with my brain directly.

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Who Me? Self-Esteem for People with Disabilities
By: Ryan J. Voigt, MA | May 11, 2009
How to view yourself in a positive light.

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Postponing Gratification
By: BrainLine | Research Update | May 7, 2009
Controlling impulsivity can be difficult for people with TBI.

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Emotional and Physical Recovery Are Two Different Things
By: Jeffrey Kreutzer and Victoria Powell | May 5, 2009
Helping to heal the whole person.

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Socializing Safely After TBI
By: Carolyn Rocchio | Ask the Expert | April 29, 2009
Helping an adult child move toward independence comes with risks.

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The Nuances of Self-Awareness Post-TBI
By: BrainLine | Research Update | April 1, 2009
A person's level of self-awareness after a brain injury can impact rehab.

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Ain't Misbehaving
By: Harvey Jacobs, PhD | March 31, 2009
Understanding the meaning behind difficult behavior.

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Handling Behavior
By: The Beach Center on Disability | BrainLine Kids | March 31, 2009
What are the most effective ways to deal with challenging behavior in kids?

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Anger: Managing Intense Emotions
By: Taryn M. Stejskal and Jeff Kreutzer, The National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury, Virginia Commonwealth Model Systems of Care | March 31, 2009
Why is anger so hard to handle after TBI?

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Understanding Behavior
By: Beach Center on Disability, University of Kansas | March 2, 2009
Learn how the A-B-C Chart for challenging behavior can help you.

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Positive Effects on Mood After Exercise
By: BrainLine | Research Update | January 1, 2009
Learn how physical activity affects mood for people with TBI.

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Brain Injury, Behavioral Challenges, and the Holidays
By: Carolyn Rocchio | Ask the Expert | December 1, 2008
Worried about your loved one's behavior during the holidays?

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Brain Injury, Social Skills, and the Holidays
By: Carolyn Rocchio | Ask the Expert | December 1, 2008
Carolyn Rocchio offers advice to prepare someone with a TBI for holiday party interactions with family and friends.

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Making Connections After Brain Injury: A Guide for Social Peer Mentors
By: The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Integration of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury | November 3, 2008
A resource for social peer mentors.

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Brain Injury: Why Does My Loved One Act Out?
By: Jodi Burgard | January 1, 2008
Learn more about the emotional and behavioral changes after a brain injury.

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Impaired Cognition: Frequently Asked Questions
By: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago-Brain Injury Team | January 1, 2008
Learn more about cognition and what happens when it is impaired after a TBI.

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TBI Consumer Report: Peer Mentoring
By: Mount Sinai Medical Center | January 1, 2008
Feel like nobody understands what you're going through?

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Breaking the Silence: Violence as a Cause and a Consequence of Traumatic Brain Injury
By: Jean Langlois, ScD, MPH | January 1, 2008
Ever wonder about the overlap between TBI and violence?

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Social Communication and TBI
By: Craig Hospital | January 1, 2008
Do you have a hard time communicating with your friends, family, or co-workers?

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TBI Consumer Report: Coping with Post-TBI Emotional Distress
By: Mount Sinai Medical Center | January 1, 2007
Learn why depression and anxiety are common after TBI.

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Memory Matters: How and Where Can I Meet New Friends or People to Date?
By: The National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury, Virginia Commonwealth Model Systems of Care | January 1, 2005
Having a hard time making friends? You are not alone. Try these strategies.

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Behavioral Considerations Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury
By: Joan Mayfield | BrainLine Kids | January 1, 2005
Children with TBI need tailored care in the classroom.

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How to Clean Up Stinking Thinking and Cope Better
By: Lee Livingston and Jeff Kreutzer | January 1, 2005
Turn your negative thoughts into hopeful ones.

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TBI Research Review: Post-TBI Depression
By: Mount Sinai Medical Center | January 1, 2004
Learn more about how depression and brain injury are connected.

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Understanding Your Emotions
By: Laura Taylor and Jeff Kreutzer | January 1, 2004
It's common — and understandable — to feel overwhelmed after a TBI.

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Management of Behavioral Problems During Acute Rehabilitation of Individuals with TBI
By: Tom Novack, PhD | January 1, 2002
Behaviorial issues can be significant challenges to rehab staff.

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El enojo después de lesión cerebral
By: Dr. Tedd Judd, Ph.D., Neuropsicólogo Clínico | Spanish | January 1, 1992
El enojo es un problema muy común que sobreviene a una lesión cerebral. Aprenda a comprender y a tratar los diferentes tipos de ira.


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