Traumatic Brain Injuries and Identity Challenges

Traumatic Brain injuries (TBIs) can present as complex physical health challenges. However, TBIs can also create mental health problems. Another less-known fact about TBIs is the identity challenge(s) people experience afterward. This blog post will explore this topic after a brief overview of TBIs.

TBI Overview

TBIs can occur from within the body when referencing infections or loss of oxygen to the brain from a blood clot. On the other hand, TBIs can also occur from injuries such as car accidents, physical violence, or sports gameplay.

Given the organ involved in a TBI (the brain), many areas of one’s life can be impacted. The challenges from TBIs can include difficulty with verbal expression, challenges with fine and gross motor movements, issues with sleep patterns and constant fatigue, impulse control, unpredictable anger/rage, anxiety, depression, and trauma. The fallout from a TBI can be life-altering.

Mental Health Problems Associated with TBIs

As mentioned above, TBIs can impact many areas of an individual’s life. One of these areas is someone’s mental health. TBIs can specifically impact someone’s ability to manage emotions and can contribute to what appears to be mood lability. I say ‘can contribute’ to mood lability as a TBI can influence mood lability that is not naturally occurring as in bipolar disorder.

TBIs can negatively impact people's mental health.

Additionally, TBIs can create struggles with concentration, focus, and attention. This can appear as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Proper assessment and understanding of how a TBI affects someone’s concentration, focus, and is warranted in every case. Further, gathering data related to how these areas of someone’s life changed post-TBI is crucial.

TBIs can influence anxiety and depressive symptoms as one moves forward in recovery. This can happen due to a TBI’s complexity, and the limited knowledge known of what one’s recovery progress will be in the future. Anxiety symptoms related to healing, not recovering fast enough, and future fears can occur. Additionally, feelings of hopelessness and loneliness can set in after a TBI. This can decrease one’s motivation and energy in life.

Depending on how a TBI was sustained it can result in trauma. Trauma can vary from person to person. A car accident resulting in a TBI can affect one person differently than another. This is the same for military combat experiences, physical violence, a skiing accident, or even a fall. Some people may experience a level of trauma after sustaining a TBI. This can result in an acute trauma response or a Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD) diagnosis.

Identity Challenges with TBIs

Identity challenges can follow a TBI. What an individual could do pre-TBI and now can do post-TBI can be vastly different. This can create identity challenges in someone’s life. For example, if someone could ski before they may not be able to ski after the TBI. Not only does someone’s identity belong to the activity but also the social network associated with this activity. Thus, a person’s social network can shift and sometimes become smaller. Other areas of identity changes can occur as well, i.e. one’s ability to work and earn income, a drop in income, and changes in one’s daily functioning.

TBI Therapist Near Greenwood Village

Finding a TBI therapist near you can be a challenge. Simple Psychology Today searches aren’t cutting it anymore. Locate a TBI therapist near Greenwood Village that can support your mental health recovery related to a TBI. Submit an online form here or call us at 720.295.6703 to receive the therapeutic support you need.

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