Although it may sound like something out of a movie, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can alter someone’s behavior. Any sudden and possibly dramatic changes in behavior following a bad head injury result from a lesion to the brain. 

The brain is our control center for our body and our senses, actions, thoughts, memories, and even our personalities.

Because the brain is a complex, multi-functional organ, any changes in a person that stem from a head injury depend largely on what part of the brain was affected and how badly it got hurt. The possibilities are diverse, and the prognosis is often hazy. 

This can have huge consequences on the way a person lives. They may have to relearn old skills or cope with new deficits. Any new behavioral or personality traits may understandably strain a person’s relationships with their loved ones.

Can a head injury cause bad behavior?

One of the most common possible behavior changes after a significant head injury increases the tendency to be easily irritated. For some, it is even as severe as a general inclination towards aggressive behavior. 

Many people, whose brains are affected by head trauma, become less patient or develop shorter tempers. They may become more prone to outbursts or get easily annoyed by minor inconveniences.

Some other similar symptoms could be mood swings, higher stress levels, or even getting verbally or physically hostile. Though it may manifest in varying degrees, quite a few patients that suffer from head trauma can develop a more aggressive disposition.

Although bad behavior is one of the more common neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury, there are several other things that could happen as well.

Can personality change after a head injury?

There are cases of personality changes in patients with head trauma. Even those who recover on a physical level may experience some sort of personality differences that tend to be quite noticeable. It can often be an amplification or magnification of characteristics that were already there before the injury. Other times, however, patients may lose or gain completely new personality traits.

One of the things that tend to come up is a general disinterest in things that were previously enjoyable or excitable; an athlete may not seem as eager to play their sport anymore, or perhaps an avid reader may not have the motivation to pick up a book. 

Going a step further, a patient may experience a lack of emotions or emotional responses. They may not be able to express themselves as well or even have difficulties socializing with others.

For some, personality changes may become dangerous as they find themselves more inclined toward impulsive behavior. As they may not be able to exercise self-control, patients might not consider the consequences of their actions or even just disregard them altogether. 

Their judgment and decision-making ability may become impaired as well, leading to a number of problematic situations.

They may make rude comments or exhibit improper behavior. They may have difficulty in work that requires them to analyze and solve problems. Others may have either heightened or diminished sex drives or display inappropriate sexual behavior.

Others still may acquire obsessive behavior. They may perform repetitive actions or might become very preoccupied with a particular thing or person.

Although these are the typical personality changes associated with brain injury, there are many other symptoms can occur depending on the uniqueness of both the patient and the injury.

What is the emotional impact of a brain injury?

There are marked emotional effects of a brain injury on a person. These are often both neurological and emotional; they can result from the actual injury to physical neurological structures, but they can also come from the distress that a patient feels from the changes in their behavior or personalities and how they affect their lives.

Patients that suffer from TBIs can become depressed. It can be difficult to determine whether symptoms stem from depression or from physical injury to the brain. Either of the two could result in a loss of interest in things that excite them, issues related to sleep, or general trouble managing emotions.

An individual who is depressed may have lasting feelings of sadness, emptiness, and anger. They may feel helpless, frustrated, or even guilty. They might seem tired all the time and have trouble accomplishing their tasks because of difficulties concentrating or a lack of motivation.

As mentioned previously, they might not be interested in things that were once pleasurable, and they may have problems with their sleep, whether it be sleeping too much or too little. 

They might not be eating well or eating way too much, and they may not be as concerned with hygiene. At worst, someone with depression may attempt suicide. Depression must be taken seriously, and anyone suspected of suffering from it should be encouraged to seek help.

Anxiety may come with depression and often presents with persistent worry, irritability, and restlessness. Patients may have physical symptoms, too, like shortness of breath, profuse sweating, or a faster heart rate.

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be a profoundly scarring emotional experience for anyone, so it is essential that the family remains encouraging, understanding, and willing to accompany the patient on their journey to get better.

Can a head injury cause problems years later?

There are not too many studies on the long-term neuropsychiatric effects of head injuries that are not seen shortly after the injury.

Although some studies suggest that significant head trauma can contribute to the development of degenerative brain diseases later in life, there is nothing too conclusive about this correlation. Some studies also look into increased risk for cognitive decline later in life due to earlier head trauma. These are all within the realm of possibility, but more research is still needed.

These types of symptoms often appear right after the injury. It is also not too unusual to have symptoms appear days or weeks later. Complications that extend into the long term usually come out within the first month or two of the injury. However, there may be a physical injury that could cause problems down the road. 

There have been cases of seizures occurring years after an injury that can be attributed to past trauma. However, in the same way, most other physical symptoms show up a few days or weeks after the injury.  

What is the most common complications?

Aside from the behavioral and personality changes mentioned earlier, there are numerous possible effects of a head injury on consciousness and physical health.

A person may be knocked unconscious or experience a concussion, the symptoms of which are most often temporary and include a headache, issues with focus, and impairment of balance. In severe head trauma cases, a person may enter a coma or enter into a state of minimum consciousness. In the absolute worst cases, brain death may occur.

Damage to aqueducts in the brain may cause a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid, making the head swell up – this is a condition known as hydrocephalus. This buildup of pressure in the brain may cause damage to other areas as well if not promptly treated.

Fractures or wounds in the outer tissue, skull, and brain may lead to infection as well. These could spread and cause multiple problems and even death. Blunt force has a chance of injuring blood vessels and cutting off oxygen supply or leading to blood clots. This is also the reason for stroke. 

When there is nerve damage, a patient may lose different senses depending on what nerves were injured. They may have facial paralysis, loss of taste, problems with vision, and more. Some people may also end up with diminished hearing or even impeded swallowing function after a head injury.

What is the Best Way To Treat an Injury?

Of course, after any head injury it would be best to go to a physician to get a second opinion on any physical problems that may arise from it. Besides the physical aspect, it’s also good to check up on how the injury may also have affected the person’s mental state.

Head injuries can be disorienting and painful, but with the right treatment, your head can function better than before. If you or your loved one has experienced head trauma that may have caused mental distress, you can go to us.

Here at Persona Neurobehavior Group, we offer services specializing in neurological services and programs that help keep the mind in top shape, even after an accident. Our professionals use state-of-the-art treatment procedures to help patients recover from head traumas and other neuro-related head injuries and conditions.
If you want the best way to treat your loved one’s head injury, visit our website at to learn more.