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Can your personality change after a brain injury?

Even if a person in California has been fortunate enough to survive a traumatic brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, loved ones often find that their friend or family member has changed afterward, particularly in personality or temperament. The consequences of a traumatic event can have repercussions for many years to come, including changing the person who has survived the event.

According to a piece on Brainline.org, an injury to the brain can result in changes to personality in two different ways. When the brain suffers damage, it disrupts the mechanisms that take in outside stimulus and processes it. The injury can damage connections that flow from the cerebral cortex, which performs the thinking, to the limbic system, which is the structure of the brain that controls and modulates a person's emotions. Because of this, a person may experience personality changes due to alterations in how emotion is experienced, understood, modulated and expressed by the brain. 

The result is that a person may experience different emotional responses than what the individual may have experienced before he or she was hurt. When these connections in the brain are damaged, a person may not be able to determine the proper emotional response to a given situation. The injury may cause the brain to wrongly evaluate the importance of an event and trigger a more heightened emotional response than the person would have expressed before the traumatic event took place.

Alternatively, a person's personality can change because of how the person reacts emotionally to the results of the brain injury. Individuals may respond with a number of negative emotions to their changed status in life, including frustration, depression, anxiety, and anger. Reacting in such a way is actually normal as a person tries to rebuild his or her life. However, such reactions can also be influenced by the aforementioned brain disruptions, causing the person to emotionally act out.

Handling personality changes wrought by a traumatic brain injury may include professional counseling to understand what has happened to the injury victim. Specific methods of treatment may include helping to victim to react more calmly to emotionally violate situations. Some professionals may recommend the use of medication depending on the victim's status.

This article is intended to inform the reader about the effects of brain injuries and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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