Emotions - Behaviour - Relations

Emotions can change after brain injury. How this manifests itself varies from person to person and from injury to injury.

Many people with brain damage experience that they are more emotional.
A person with a brain injury may feel like walking on tiptoes, feel bad or sick every day, and have difficulty putting things into perspective or letting go.
The brain can be chronically overloaded, but the location of the injury can also influence behavior. It may be that emotions are not inhibited or are difficult to inhibit.
Someone is then more likely to blurt out things that he or she actually does not want to say. Character traits can be strengthened for both good and negative.
These consequences may cause social contacts to change. Relationships can become strained. The following is also important: intimacy can also be changed in this way.

These consequences are not visible from the outside.

Sometimes it takes a while before those around you notice that they are there. But they can actually be one of the most difficult consequences after brain injury. Not only for the person experiencing them, but also for the family and friends who notice that the person they love is no longer the same. Sometimes it takes time to get along with everyone.


In the menu below you will find more information about different consequences on emotions, behavior and relationships.

  • Emotions and behavioral changes
    • absence of emotional responses
    • aggression and agitation
    • apathy, no initiative, lethargic, empty
    • angry
    • chronic grief
    • depression
    • frontal syndrome
    • disinhibited and impulsive behavior
    • more likely to get emotional 
    • socially inappropriate behavior
    • increased empathy, is more vulnerable
    • have become softer, friendlier
  • Disinhibited behavior. reduced control of emotions
  • Crying
  • Laughter / Compulsive Laughter; Pseudobulbar affect
  • Compulsive crying; Pseudobulbar affect
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive Cerebellar Affective Syndrome (injury to the cerebellum)
  • Lack of empathy
  • Changes in communication; having a conversation can be too hard
  • Listening can be too hard
  • Changed intimacy sexuality relationship
  • Changed friendships
  • Limitlessness
  • Reduced insight into illness or disturbed illness perception, as a result of which people with brain damage do not recognize their disorders and limitations. The SADL-3 (Self-Awareness in Daily Life) has been designed to reflect this limitation.
  • Decreased ability to experience pleasure / Anhedonia; decreased interest in pleasure or actually having fun. Affective flattening.
  • Psychological and psychiatric behavioral changes (psychoses, delusions, hallucinations, but also depression, sadness and anxiety).
  • PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
  • Where in the brain are emotions controlled?


Environmental factors

Environmental factors can play a major role in behavior and emotions.
People in the environment or circumstances can play a role. Exposure to too much noise (including background noise and crowds!) or light. For some, a sudden decrease in sound and light may play a role.
Environmental influence or adjustment: for example, choose a low-stimulus environment with a fixed and regular daily structure, and paying attention to the balance between relaxation and effort.
Also read our communication problems page; when having a conversation seems so difficult.

Not everything is behaviour!

The word 'behavioural change' or 'character change' is easily used when talking about people with brain damage. 

We call on everyone not to be too hasty in making judgments.

#nocharacterchange #tired #neurofatigue #wordfindingproblems #brainfog