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Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Change Someone's Personality?


Everyone who suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is affected differently. These types of injuries are unique because they can affect someone physically, mentally, and emotionally – or a combination of these three. The effects of TBI can also linger long after an accident and may even be permanent.

There’s no guarantee that TBI will change any particular individual’s personality, but it has been observed and recognized as a symptom by the medical community.

How Can TBI Change Someone’s Personality?

Some of the known symptoms of a brain injury are – of course – physical pain, vertigo, cloudy thought patterns, memory loss, and difficulty processing emotions. These symptoms are often discussed as isolated factors, but when added up, it can begin to make sense how someone’s personality could change after TBI if multiple symptoms are at work.

If someone has difficulty processing information or emotions due to brain damage, they may not have the same personality they had before the accident. They may become easily frustrated or irritable, or perhaps experience mood swings that never existed before the accident.

The same can be said for memory loss because our memories are often vital components of our personalities. If someone loses the ability to remember past events or to create new memories, they may not seem like the same person as they were before TBI.

Here are some other signs that someone’s personality may have changed as a result of TBI:

  • Lack of Trust: Someone who has experienced TBI may have difficulty trusting friends and family members as they did before an accident. They could seem paranoid, make unfounded accusations, or even act suspiciously themselves.
  • Impaired Judgment: When the frontal lobe of the brain is damaged, someone’s judgment and inhibitions may degrade. This means that someone who may have been more cautious before an accident could exhibit new risk-taking behavior that can be reckless and dangerous to themselves or others – like speeding, gambling large amounts of money, cheating on a spouse, or even becoming violent.
  • Flat Effect: Sometimes family members of TBI patients report a condition known as the “flat effect.” This is a marked reduction in emotional expression that can make a TBI patient seem less engaged or less interested in their loved ones or activities they enjoyed before an accident.
  • Inflexibility and Obsessive Behavior: Sometimes TBI patients can get exhibit obsessive thought patterns and become fixated on certain thoughts or actions. They may lash out or become frightened when their routine changes or have difficulty changing a conversation topic. In essence, doing something differently can elicit what would otherwise be unusual emotional responses.
  • Egocentric Behavior: When someone experiences TBI, they may develop a more self-centered personality, which is usually caused by damage to the frontal lobe. The TBI patient may have difficulty empathizing with others and reacting appropriately to their feelings.


Traumatic brain injury can certainly change someone’s personality, although it won’t always occur. If you or someone you love doesn’t seem like the same person they were before an accident, however, we at Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. can help. Our legal team can pursue fair and just compensation for your accident, which can include the cost of your medical bills as well as damages for factors like a loss of enjoyment in life or loss of consortium.

For more information about how we can help, schedule a consultation with Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. today. Contact us online or call } to learn more.