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Workers who suffer a brain injury may see personality change

Often we discuss many of the different ways that a brain injury can impact a worker after an accident. There are the physical implications, that require therapy and check-ups, and there are financial implications from medical expenses. For brain injury victims, these are the immediate concerns that come up after the injury.

But there is another effect that victims may not be aware: personality change. It may not be as obvious at first, but with time a serious brain injury can change the way a person interacts with others, views him or herself, and handles different situations. It could impact a worker's ability to mentally and emotionally handle workplace situations.

There are a number of ways that a brain injury can affect personality. And while scientists and researchers are still not sure how everything is connected, here are some of the things they do know about the frontal lobe if damaged:

  • One can lose the ability to organize and multi-task
  • One might not be able to control impulsive behavior
  • One might not be able to filter verbal responses to situations

From a general perspective, a brain injury can cause more frustration for someone who may not understand why daily tasks are more difficult. This frustration can be amplified, especially if the victim used to have more control prior to the brain injury. In a workplace, this type of change in personality can impact performance reviews and affect the way others view the individual.

There are some ways for brain injury survivors to regain control over some of their lost functions. Some have tried relearning behavior strategies to help control impulsiveness. Others have tried certain medications to control behavior. It is unclear what will work for whom in a specific situation, but understanding the impact this type of injury can have on personality early on could help reduce much of the stress and frustration that is likely to accompany the injury.

Source: NBC news, "'A different person': Personality change often brain injury's hidden toll," Bill Briggs, Sept. 28, 2013.

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