Changes in Personality Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

After suffering a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), victims can experience behavioral problems. As a result, changes to their personality can impact their social life and ability to maintain relationships.

Possible Changes in Personality after a TBI

brain scan

Moderate to severe TBI victims can experience personality changes that last for days, weeks, months, or years, or may be permanent. For example: 

Issues Managing Emotions

There may be sudden changes in mood, such as impatience, irritability, and anger. Even a seemingly minor inconvenience can lead to overstimulation and result in a victim having an inappropriate reaction, such as raising their voice, laughing, or crying uncontrollably. 


Constantly feeling on edge, ruminating on worst-case scenarios, and having trouble falling or staying asleep.


Dealing with a brain injury and all its symptoms can lead to depression, especially after repetitive head injuries.


A TBI can cause poor impulse control resulting in automatic (sometimes inappropriate) responses to problems or situations (e.g., non-tactful statements to others, risk-taking, excessive spending).  

Problems Being Social

Avoiding others, interrupting conversations, or saying things that are hurtful or do not apply to the situation. Additionally, physical symptoms such as light and sound sensitivity or brain fog can make social outings an exhausting experience. 


TBI victims may say no to doing things or activities that are positive for them, such as going to therapy, taking medication, exercising, or other things that must be done. 

Why a TBI Can Cause Changes to Personality

Personality changes can originate from three sources following a TBI:

  • Specific physiological changes in the brain, affect how it takes in, processes, and perceives information. 
  • Emotional reactions (a natural response) to the life changes brought on by a brain injury.
  • Medication side effects.

The location of the TBI can contribute too, for instance, if there is damage to the connections from the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that has a role in memory, attention, perception, cognition, and awareness) to the limbic system (the part of the brain that supports functions like emotions, behavior, and motivation). These connections allow you to evaluate emotional reactions, understand the importance of an event, and decide how to appropriately respond. As a result, when these connections are injured, the emotional response can differ from what it would have been before the TBI. 

Treatment Options for Post-TBI Personality Changes

A combination of exercise and multidisciplinary therapies can be used to treat personality changes after a TBI, such as the following: 


Cardio exercise is also encouraged since it increases essential neurotransmitters and proteins in the brain that help develop and promote healthy blood flow. As a result, the brain will be in better condition to tackle any challenges in therapy. With time, victims may be able to return to the state they were in before the TBI. However, others can require lifelong care. 

Liability for a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a preventable accident, you may be entitled to compensation if another party’s negligence is to blame. Arrange a free consultation with an Atlanta Brain Injury Lawyer to discuss your legal options today. 

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