What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury and How Can It Impact Mental Health?

The Article is Developed in Partnership with BetterHelp.

Whether you realize it or not, your brain does a lot for you each and every minute of the day—including while you’re sleeping! Your brain not only controls how you think, feel, act, move, and speak, but also monitors your heart rate, hunger levels, temperature, digestion, and much more. So, when this vital organ is disrupted by something like a traumatic brain injury, it can create devastating consequences. In this article, we’ll discuss what a traumatic brain injury is and how it can affect your health, focusing specifically on its impact on mental wellness.

What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a serious injury in the brain caused by a strong blow, hit, or assault to the head or body. When a TBI occurs, the brain moves within the skull, which may spur several different negative outcomes for the afflicted individual.

Given that each person is affected differently, their symptoms may be mild, moderate, or more severe. Sometimes, people lose consciousness when they have a TBI, whether for seconds, minutes, or even longer. When the brain’s function is disrupted in such a serious way, some of the symptoms the individual may experience include:

  • Persistent headache
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Inability to be woken up from sleeping
  • Seizures
  • Cognitive issues
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Fluids coming from the nose or ears
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Trouble with focus, attention, or memory

This list isn’t exhaustive, as each person’s symptoms depend on how severe their injury is and whether they have access to treatment.

How Do TBIs Affect Mental Health?

TBIs affect people more than just physically; they also can create mental health concerns. The following are some of the ways TBIs may impact people’s mental wellness specifically:

  • Mood changes: Mental health conditions like depression can develop after a TBI. People may become hopeless that their symptoms will ever improve or see a poor outlook for their life following the TBI. This can be especially true if they don’t have a supportive network of loved ones to lean on, or if their access to helpful resources and treatment is limited or nonexistent.
  • Higher levels of stress: TBIs can be stressful. They may necessitate visiting doctors (including specialists) on a consistent basis, which can be expensive as well as time-consuming. Therapy may also be part of the healing process, and finding affordable therapy options can be difficult, especially without insurance. Individuals with TBIs may also constantly be worried about their injury worsening or not improving, despite trying everything to heal.
  • Behavioral changes: TBIs can cause people to say or do things they don’t mean. They may make inappropriate comments in public, have trouble managing their emotions, or have little motivation to go to work or take care of themselves. These changes can be more or less severe depending on the extent of the injury.
  • Social isolation: People with TBIs may feel isolated from their friends and family members, and their life may look completely different from one day to the next. While some people have strong support systems, others may experience loneliness because they can’t go out as much (due to fatigue, nausea, etc.). Social isolation can be detrimental to mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and other concerns.
  • Trauma: Depending on how someone received their TBI, they may be prone to experiencing trauma and even developing a mental condition like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If someone was attacked by another person or received their injury from something like a structural failure, they may experience fear and anxiety from being in similar situations or around certain individuals.

Therapy is often recommended for those who are experiencing mental health concerns following a traumatic brain injury. Working with a therapist can provide individuals with TBIs appropriate coping skills, resources, and other tools to stay healthy.


The impact of traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe, and every case looks different. Treating TBIs also depends on the symptoms being experienced and may include anything from medication to surgery to therapy and more. Early intervention and treatment can be key to recovering from a TBI, so if you suspect you have one, it’s important to receive prompt attention and care. While TBIs may present difficulties for those afflicted by them, they can be treatable conditions when you have the right support.

Teno Blog
Teno Bloghttps://www.tenoblog.com
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