After a patient suffers a head injury or a Traumatic Brain Injury from a car accident or some other kind of trauma, they may experience rapid changes in the person’s behavior, known commonly as mood swings. Many patients experience these emotions in intense, short instances, often only lasting for a short period of time. Other patients may also experience mood swings, however, the emotional change stays with them for longer amounts of time. Most of the time, this is described by people who have a TBI as being “an emotional roller coaster,” as they switch between feelings of sad thoughts, happy thoughts, and than anger, all within just a short period of time.
Mood swings are common to people after incurring a TBI as head injuries often damage the part of the brain that is primarily responsible for controlling and governing the different emotions and behavior. If this area is altered or damaged due to an injury to the brain, it is easy to see how it may affect a person’s mood. People with traumatic brain injuries often have unpredictable behavior.
For example, someone with a TBI may experience random periods of crying or laughing without the relating emotions if the areas of the brain that control these responses are damaged. Patients who experience mood swings after a severe head injury can often expect the symptoms to recede over time. As the brain heals, the affected areas of the brain will return to normal. If the problem remains the same, doctors can prescribe mood stabilizers and other psychotropic medications to help.