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What Can Life Look Like After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Posted on February 27, 2023

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can potentially have lifelong implications that affect a victim in all aspects of their life. Fortunately, most TBIs that occur are mild with a higher chance of a full recovery, but with a moderate to severe TBI, there is a considerable risk of lasting effects. 

Possible Changes in Personality after a TBI

Moderate to severe TBI victims can experience personality changes that last for days, weeks, months, years, or may be permanent. For example: 

Trouble Managing Emotions

There may be sudden changes in mood, such as impatience, irritability, and anger. Even a seemingly minor inconvenience can lead to overstimulation and result in a victim having an inappropriate reaction, such as raising their voice, laughing, or crying uncontrollably. 


Constantly feeling on edge, ruminating on worst-case scenarios, and having trouble falling or staying asleep.


Dealing with a brain injury and all its symptoms can lead to depression, especially after repetitive head injuries.


A TBI can cause poor impulse control resulting in automatic (sometimes inappropriate) responses to problems or situations (e.g., non-tactful statements to others, risk-taking, excessive spending).  

Problems Being Social

Avoiding others, interrupting conversations, or saying things that are hurtful or do not apply to the situation. Additionally, physical symptoms such as light and sound sensitivity or brain fog can make social outings an exhausting experience. 


TBI victims may say no to doing things or activities that are positive for them, such as going to therapy, taking medication, exercising, or other things that must be done. 

Why a TBI Can Cause Changes to Personality

Personality changes can originate from three sources following a TBI:

  • Specific physiological changes in the brain, which affect how it takes in, processes, and perceives information. 
  • Emotional reactions (a natural response) to the life changes brought on by a brain injury.
  • Medication side effects.

The location of the TBI can contribute as well. 

Potential Lasting Effects of a Moderate to Severe TBI 

A moderate to severe TBI can impact a victim’s life over a much more extended period and in extreme cases, forever. For example, victims may experience the following effects: 

Cognitive Issues

Long-term problems with memory, paying attention, and carrying out everyday tasks, including organizing, planning, goal setting, making rational decisions, and more. Because of this, victims often require other people to assist them. 

Physical Disabilities 

Victims may suffer long-term physical symptoms, such as headaches, sleep changes, dizziness, seizures, cranial nerve damage, loss of balance, speech problems, difficulty swallowing, paralysis, among others. Some of these effects can disappear or improve after several years, but there is no guarantee. 

Behavioral Challenges

A moderate to severe TBI can have a long-term effect on a victim’s social life and their ability to maintain relationships. Often it is due to increased agitation, irritability, combativeness, stress disorders, impulsivity, and severe mood changes. 

Sensory Problems

Since the brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system, any damage often causes sensory problems. These issues vary based on the part of the brain impacted but commonly include extreme sensitivity to light, noises, or touch that is part of everyday life, being uncomfortable, and easily overwhelmed. 

Victims living with a moderate to severe TBI must often rely on a family member or caregiver. 

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

The Long Term Financial Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The lifetime medical costs and living expenses can range anywhere from $85,000 up to $4 million, depending on the severity of a TBI. Shockingly, these estimates do not include losses related to income, employee benefits, and productivity. On average, a mild brain injury costs $15,000 for extensive medical care and ongoing therapy to ensure a full recovery. For moderate to severe TBIs, the first year costs close to $200,000 on average for immediate care and rehabilitation. The estimated medical and non-medical expenses in the first year after hospitalization is over $150,000.  Contacted a trusted Philadelphia traumatic brain injury lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve!