Changes in emotions and behaviour are common after an ABI 

Everyone who has had a brain injury can be left with some changes in emotional reaction and behaviour. Emotional difficulties following an ABI can be more difficult to see, but can be one of the most challenging impacts of ABI for the individual and for their family.

These emotional changes are both a consequence of the areas of the brain that have been damaged, and the process of coming to terms with having an ABI and the impact of this on the individuals life.

Common emotional reactions to ABI include:

  • Recognising, understanding and expressing emotions
  • Ability to regulate emotions
  • Emotional lability - rapid often exaggerated changes in mood (mood swings)
  • Frustration and Anger 
  • Anxiety and fear
  • low mood, depression
  • loss of confidence and lowered self-esteem

Behaviour changes can include:

  • Apathy or reduces motivation
  • Increased irritability
  • Aggressive behaviour (verbal and/or physical)
  • Socially inappropriate behaviour
  • Difficulties relating to others
  • Restlessness/agitation  
  • Changes in sexual functioning.  Sexual functioning involves physical, emotional and social factors all of which can be affected by and ABI