If someone suffers a serious head injury, their skin and bones may physically heal. But if their brain was impacted by that injury, they could experience lingering effects – some of which may last for the rest of their life.
One thing that loved ones will sometimes note is that a brain injury victim’s entire personality seems to have changed or shifted. Maybe a spouse doesn’t feel like they even know the person that they’re married to anymore. Maybe their children say that their parent seems much different now in some fundamental ways. How can this happen?
The location of the injury
One thing to consider is the location where the injury occurred and what part of the brain was injured. An example is the orbitofrontal cortex. This helps people become empathetic and controls impulse behavior. If it is injured, someone who used to be empathetic could lose those important qualities or they could be compromised.
Oftentimes, a patient’s emotional process seems different or they experience serious mood changes. A person may have been happy and friendly before, but they may be irritable and depressed after a head injury. It could be that they have a harder time processing their emotions after being injured, or that portions of the brain that control those emotions were damaged temporarily or irreparably.
Reactions to other changes
Alternatively, many of the “personality changes” that come up after a head injury could just be reactions to other issues the person is experiencing. For instance, some brain injuries can make people very sensitive to lights and sounds. They may feel overwhelmed if they are in a crowd, especially if the noise level is very high. This means that they might become irritable and agitated, or that they might start leaving social situations unusually early. They may even be angry if they find themselves somewhere that is overstimulating. Their increased sensitivity, which was caused by the brain injury, has likely led to these emotional changes.
As can be seen, there can be major changes in a person’s life after a brain injury. A brain injury victim will need to know if they have a right to seek financial compensation if someone else was responsible for their harm, as seeking that compensation may help them to more easily afford the resources that will allow them to more fully adjust to the changes they’re experiencing.