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4 Ways TBI’s Impact Irritability

4 Ways TBI’s Impact Irritability


If you know someone who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, you might notice that they become more irritable than they did before. Oftentimes, this irritability seems to come out of nowhere and feel totally unjustified. You might even fall into the trap of being offended if you are at the receiving end of this behavior and want to lash out at your friend or family member. Before you do that, consider the reality that these irritable feelings and emotions often cannot be controlled and are yet another manifestation of the brain injury itself. Here are a few ways that a TBI can make an individual much more irritable than they would otherwise be.


TBIs Impact Moods and Feelings


A traumatic brain injury can impact the affective part of a person’s brain. This is the area that deals with mood and feelings. You might notice that an individual who has recently suffered a TBI might be noticeably moodier than they were before. They may snap at others, lash out in anger, or become easily agitated.


These emotions are often triggered when they feel overwhelmed or under pressure. This is why it is important to try to remove these feelings as much as possible. Individuals may also become irritable when they feel challenged, afraid, or that they control certain areas of their life. These negative feelings can come out of nowhere and be totally unexpected.


TBIs Affect Areas of Self-Control and Time Management


You may also notice that a person with a TBI begins to have self-control and time management more than before. Because of their frustration, they begin to exhibit abnormal behavior such as throwing things at the wall or other people, slamming doors, and yelling at loved ones for seemingly no reason at all.


When this happens, it is often because they are trying to do too many things all at once. You will want to encourage them to slow down and focus on one task at a time. The key is not to overreact to their outbursts, but rather to work with them to help control their behavior better in the future.


TBIs Often Lead to Negative Thoughts and Reactions


A TBI can also adversely impact the cognitive side of the brain and lead to negative thoughts creeping in about oneself and other people. This can result in an overreaction to even minor events. The individual might also believe that they are not good at anything and begin to wallow in self-despair. You may notice this when they begin to draw negative comparisons between themselves and others. This can lead to dissatisfaction with their own abilities, so you will want to highlight their strengths and say away from any mention of their weaknesses.


TBIs Can Impact Interpersonal Communication


TBIs can also affect the way a person communicates on an interpersonal level. This can result in difficulty maintaining small talk. Even the most minor of conversations may become difficult and frustrating. This is often seen when a family member or loved one has difficulty accepting the injury. This is why it is always important to refrain from any negative thoughts or actions that are directed toward the injury, no matter what caused it in the first place.




Understanding how a TBI can lead to irritability is the first step towards helping someone you care about to overcome this emotion. It is important to empathize with these emotions and not to take them personally. Often time, TBI sufferers are unable to control how they are feeling and feel lost in the process. It is part of your duty as a caregiver to help them through this difficult time.



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