Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and while many embrace the holiday as a way to show their loved one’s just how much they care, it can be a difficult time for others. This year, don’t forget about those who are suffering from brain injuries, and may find it more difficult to express their emotions.
At Unique Options, we work with clients who have difficulty grasping their inner sensitivities. When someone acquires a traumatic brain injury, the psychological problems that can build from emotional stress are often too much for an individual to tackle on their own. This is why our program offers a safe and comfortable environment, to allow our clients to express their emotions, and work through their actions appropriately.
Below are some of the most common emotional symptoms that TBI survivors experience, and how you can take more proactive steps to help them cope.
- Mood Swings: Some people experience up’s and down’s faster than we can process. We often refer to this as an ‘emotional roller coaster,’ as many clients will go from happy to sad, in an extremely fast amount of time. These mood swings can happen for no specific reason, and shouldn't be taken personally by those on the opposite end.
- How Can You Help: If you happen to receive the aftermath of a mood swing, make sure to always remain calm. Try to speak quietly to the person experiencing the emotional roller coaster, and remain supportive of the situation.
- Depression: This is one of the most common emotional symptoms that go along with having a TBI. Many survivors morn the loss of what they once were, how they functioned before their injury, and the overwhelming sensation of change. This can also be a chemical reaction that shows face several months after incurring a brain injury.
- How Can You Help: Be as supportive and encouraging as possible, but understand that you won’t always be able to fix the problem. Medication, along with routine diet and exercise, can help curb depression issues for those with a TBI. If you know someone is experiencing these symptoms, don’t wait to speak up. Make sure they know they have your support!
- Anxiety: You know that feeling when your nerves take over, and all logical thinking goes out the window? So do those who’ve experience a brain injury. TBI clients are more likely to exhibit symptoms of anxiety frequently. This is often due to the difficulty caused by focusing, concentrating, or not understand what is being explained to them. Additionally, large crowds, physical limitations, or time constraints, can also be an anxiety trigger.
- How Can You Help: Keep things small and simple! When explaining information to someone with a TBI, keep your directions clear and concise. Offer reassuring assistance and provide as much structure for a situation, when you can.
- Irritability: Many people that have sustained a TBI end up struggling with tolerance issues. Their irritability increases, and it can often appear that they’re frequently agitated. Injuries that occur in the brain that control these areas are common with those suffering from a brain injury, and can also work in conjunction with their anxiety.
- How Can You Help: Again, we want to remind you to not take these situations personally. Avoid rationalizing with the other person, and give them some space to calm down. However, don’t shy away from letting the individual know that their behavior is an appropriate way for them to express themselves, and find a moment to talk about why the incident happened, at a later time.
What suggestions do you find work best when dealing with emotional extremes? Let us know in the comments below!
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