Please be aware that some programs and video content are temporarily unavailable, as the CEMM transitions to a new website. This content will be available soon but if you have any questions or concerns please contact us here

Behavioral and Emotional Effects

You may notice changes in the way the service member or veteran behaves sometimes. People with a TBI may have many emotional and behavioral effects following the injury.

That’s because our brain controls the way we act and feel. An injury to the brain — particularly an injury to the frontal lobe — can cause changes in emotion and behavior. The changes that happen after a TBI can affect how the person acts and feels.

Changes in behavior may include:

  • Frustration, increased anger, or aggressiveness
  • Impulsivity or difficulties in self-control
  • Faulty or poor judgment
  • Decreased ability to initiate a conversation or activity
  • Lack of initiation
  • Repetitive behaviors (this is known as perseveration)
  • Less effective or ineffective social skills
  • Changes in sexual behaviors
  • Impaired self-awareness about how TBI impacts self and others
  • Apathy or indifference
  • Suspiciousness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • New behaviors of smoking, drinking alcohol, or other substance use

Emotional effects may include:

  • Depression
  • Increased anxiety
  • Mood swings (this is known as emotional lability)
  • Changes in self-esteem
  • Apathy or indifference

The healthcare team is available for advice and support. The team can help the service member or veteran manage behavioral and emotional changes through counseling, medication, and healthy coping behaviors.