There are many symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but some are more common than others. Most of us know how a relatively mild TBI can cause chronic headaches, sensitivity to light and nausea. Then there are even more serious symptoms like mood swings and vertigo.
One outcome that occasionally happens that you might not have heard of is personality changes. Imagine that someone you love suffers a severe brain injury in an accident and emerges from treatment with a totally new personality. It could almost feel like your loved one has died and been replaced by a different person who looks just like them.
Woke up a different person
That is how the parents of a Canadian woman describe what happened after their daughter was injured in a car accident in 2014. After emergency surgery and a week-long coma, the then-19-year-old woman woke up and began her recovery.
Almost immediately, it was clear that something had changed. The woman had always been reserved and even-keeled. After her injury, she became very talkative and outgoing to the point of bluntness, even with strangers. Her emotions also suddenly became volatile, and she suffered mood swings and crying jags. Her doctors believe that her TBI affected her brain’s executive functions, causing her to lose much of her inhibitions.
This would be disorienting enough for families. But for the patient themselves, it must feel like the world has been turned upside down. The nature of all their relationships is likely to change. The way they used to interact with the world is gone, except that they might not feel like a different person.
The consequences of TBI can last a lifetime
A life-changing TBI can cost you more than lost wages and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. It can reduce your quality of life and your ability to be there for your spouse or children.