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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs because of sudden damage to the brain. The American Association of Neurological Surgery explains that TBI “is a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” It is impossible to provide an accurate answer to the question: does TBI cause personality changes as the answer is variable. The specific symptoms that develop because of a TBI will vary significantly, as they depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, as well as the area of the brain that was injured. For some individuals, a TBI may only affect the exact location on the brain where the injury occurred, while for others a TBI could also affect surrounding tissues and cause damage to one’s brain in other areas, apart from the initial site. 

Personality Changes

The American Psychological Association explains that “personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.” Sustaining a TBI could lead to a plethora of adverse physiological symptoms, including affecting an individual’s cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving, learning, abstract thinking, and complex idea comprehension. Any of these symptoms can cause an individual’s personality to shift, regardless of the location of injury to one’s brain. However, research has found that individuals that have endured a TBI to the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that is involved in planning, self-control, and decision making) are more likely to experience personality changes. When the prefrontal cortex is compromised, individuals are forced to rely on the amygdala (the area of the brain associated with impulses, emotions, aggression, instinctive behavior, and plays a role in sexual activity and libido) when reacting to certain stimuli. Hence, a TBI can cause an individual to lack impulse control, and experience emotional dysregulation, which can contribute to a shift in one’s personality. While a scientifically conclusive answer regarding whether a TBI causes personality changes remains unknown, though not inevitable it is possible for a TBI to cause an individual to experience personality changes.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.