Will your personality change after a brain injury?

You get injured seriously in a car accident. You lose consciousness and the first responders think you may not make it. While they are able to save your life, doctors quickly tell you that you suffered a traumatic brain injury.

As you recover in the hospital, you begin researching brain injuries so that you will know what to expect. You find that all brain injuries are different and have different symptoms. It’s hard to predict what will happen because it depends on many factors, such as the severity of the injury and what specific part of your brain got injured.

Along with the traditional information about memory issues, physical changes, mental impairments and other potential outcomes, you learn something that you never realized before: Your personality could change. Why does this happen?

Areas of damage

Once again, the key is in the area of the brain that suffered the damage. If that area controls some key aspect of your personality, you may see significant changes after the injury — even when it has healed as well as it is ever going to heal.

For instance, your frontal lobe helps to limit your impulsivity. If it gets damaged, you may no longer have much self-control. If you want to make an off-color joke, you’ll make it. If you feel angry with a loved one, you’ll start yelling at them. Aggression and anger may become harder to control. When you start to feel emotional, you’ll have no “brakes” for those emotions.

This doesn’t necessarily change who you are. It is just that, as we age, we all learn to work within the confines of this self-control. We limit actions that may have negative ramifications or impact others. We learn not to react emotionally and to think about what we do and say. The damage to your brain can take those checks and balances away so that you say or do things that you regret.

A difficult time

You also have to remember that living with a brain injury can be a difficult time for you personally. You may not be able to work, you may have serious physical or mental limitations to deal with, and you may feel that the whole thing is very unfair since someone else caused the accident.

This struggle can lead to issues like depression and anxiety. You may become irritable and feel frustrated all of the time. This too can make you seem like a different person to your family if you never acted like this before.

Your options

When you have to live with serious changes as a result of a car accident, it is important to know exactly what legal options you have.