Person with brain injury: Dr. Cushing told me that my emotions will probably become “more normal” after the first few months. For now my family and I are talking to counselors to help us cope.
Doctor: That’s great! Counseling can help you manage your emotions better. There are also medications that can stabilize mood. If you or your loved one are experiencing this, the first step is to talk to your doctor.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or nervousness that’s too strong for the situation. People with TBI may feel anxious without knowing why... People with TBI may get anxious about how well they’re able to do things.
Person with brain injury: I’m afraid of making mistakes and that makes me feel like everyone is watching and judging me, even when they probably aren’t. Person with brain injury, thought bubble: This reminds me of the accident...
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of anxiety that can occur after an accident and can be triggered by reminders of the injury.
Doctor: Being rushed, being in crowds, or sudden changes in plans can cause anxiety.
Sometimes the memory of how a person got injured gets played over in their head and interferes with sleep.
If you or your family member are taking medications for any of these problems it’s important to work closely with your doctor and be sure to keep your follow-up appointments.
Doctor: It may take some time to see results. Be patient.
There can be a delay before the medication starts working.
Your dose may need to be adjusted by your doctor or you may need to try different medications before you find the one that works best. Except in an emergency, do not stop taking the medication your doctor has prescribed without talking to them first.
The health information presented in the Graphic Fact Sheet is based on evidence from research and/or professional consensus and has been reviewed and approved by an editorial team of experts from the TBI Model Systems.
Authorship and Illustration
This content was taken from the document Emotional Problems after TBI, which was developed by Tessa Hart, Ph.D. and Keith Cicerone, Ph.D., in collaboration with the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. Portions of the original document were adapted from materials developed by the UAB TBI Model System, the Carolinas Rehabilitation and Research System, and from Picking up the Pieces after TBI: A Guide for Family Members, by Angelle M. Sander, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine (2002).
Emotional Problems after TBI was adapted into this Graphic Fact Sheet by Silas James and Illustrated by Matthew Cory.
Funding for this project was provided by Veterans Training Support Center; University of Washington; University of Washington TBI Model System; Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs; King County; and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Department of Education, Grant #H133A120028.