Can TBI be confused with being bipolar? My teenage daughter broke her neck in a bad car wreck. Afterwards, she would have spells of uncontrollable crying. She went to our family doctor who told her she was bipolar and put her on meds. They are not really helping her much.
I am assuming your daughter sustained a brain injury during the motor vehicle accident that also resulted in her broken neck. If she has not had a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, I would recommend that she have one to determine the extent of her brain injury and its impact on her neurocognitive and or neurobehavioral abilities.
Neurocognitive issues after a brain injury can effect a person’s emotions, behavior, and cognitive function. Post-traumatic reactions can occur independent of the brain injury and can affect mood and behavior. It is important to note that these are not mutually exclusive. After a TBI, people can experience both neurocognitive and psychological symptoms. When the brain is healing, it needs rest. Engaging in activities or being stimulated past the point of fatigue can result in emotional flooding. For some people, this can manifest as crying spells. Making sure to rest and take breaks will help prevent or at least lessen the intensity of these episodes of emotional flooding. A neuropsychologist can help your daughter develop coping skills.
Jacquelyn Borg, PhD is a clinical child psychologist and manager of the Department of Neuropsychology and Neurorehabilitation for Children's Specialized Hospital in New Jersey. She is an affiliate member of the medical staff at the Hospital.