Why is it important for families to understand the "new normal" after a brain injury?
It is so important for people to have an understanding of what’s normal after brain injury. People don’t know what to expect. For example, I read a New York Times article about a woman whose husband had a form of dementia and kept getting angry at her. She said that when she learned that the reason why he was getting angry was because he had dementia, she stopped taking things so personally.
So for example, it's important for families to understand what normal effects of a brain injury can be. Many people who have a brain injury will find themselves getting frustrated, losing control of their emotions, and maybe getting irritable and angry. It really comes with the injury. And so if a family knows what to expect and they learn techniques to address those emotional outbursts and help the person with the injury control those outbursts, it makes the whole family feel like their lives are a little bit more predictable and in control.
Jeffrey Kreutzer, PhD a Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry at VCU. He serves as Director of Virginia's TBI Model System, a position he has held since 1987. He also coordinates VCU Health System outpatient services for families and persons with brain injury.