How Brain Injuries Can Affect Mental Health

A model of a brain is displayed.

How Brain Injuries Can Affect Mental Health

Over the last decade, people have started to pay more attention to the long-term effects of brain injuries on an individual. Even if it seems like a mild injury at the time, it can negatively affect individuals’ lives for long periods of time.

With brain injury awareness month in March, we at the Viewpoint Center are looking at just how much brain injuries can have an affect on mental illness. In particular, brain injuries for children under 18 can have lasting effects well into adulthood when left untreated and mishandled. By understanding how to handle traumatic injuries to the brain and spot issues early on, there is a better chance of minimizing the impact brain injuries can have on people.

Brain injuries: any time and anywhere

There is a chance of a brain injury of some magnitude occurring in just about any walk of life. Brain injuries in sports get a lot of attention, but they can happen due to accidents or mishaps around the home. The important part is assessing the severity of the brain injury at the time, and then getting medical attention necessary to fix the problem later.

How long does it take to see mental illness problems?

The challenging part about brain injuries is that it can take a long time for mental illness problems to show up. A person might feel like they are in the clear, but not understand that more issues are coming down the road. It is recommended to have checkups at least a few times within the year after an injury occurs, as there could be delayed signs that something is wrong.

Another reason why checkups are important is to judge how badly a person is affected. For example, if things worsen 3-6 months after, there might need to be additional focus on the recovery process. It is hard to find a solution that fits everyone since every brain injury is different.

What are some ways to treat these Brain problems and bounce back?

For a lot of people, their mental health improves after a few months. It can be challenging to get an emotional balance back, but the body is resilient enough to allow people to get back to their normal state. With that said, not everyone will react the same way, and the severity of the brain injury can also affect just how much of a difference it makes.

If problems persist, it is always recommended to talk to a doctor to figure out a way to get better treatment. They will be able to put most people on the right path to get the help they need. For some, that can be counseling, and for others, there are medications out there that can improve or even stabilize a person’s mood.

Having friends and family support helps tremendously for those who are dealing with these types of issues. Reacting emotionally to something can contribute to a spiral effect, causing the problem to worsen. Instead of being harsh towards people, redirecting them and helping them get back on track helps a lot more.

Handling the major side effects of a brain injury

Three major issues affect mental health after a brain injury. Although they can be pretty general, it turns into a bigger and bigger issue if left completely untreated.


When going through a brain injury, people can feel anxious about making mistakes, falling behind, or being criticized. This anxious feeling can make it harder for a person to recover, and it affects everyday life as well.

Panic attacks fall under anxiety, and chances of a panic attack increases during stressful situations. If there are stressful demands on a person recovering from a brain injury, it can put them in overload mode.


Everyone feels sad from time to time, but depression can really start to settle in after a brain injury. For the most part, people start to feel depressed after they have gone through a brain injury, as they might not be recovering as fast as they would like to. If it is a long-term situation with a brain injury, it can also lead to chronic depression.

Dealing with any disability, even if it is going to go away after a few months, can be devastating for most. Keeping in good spirits and talking about positive situations can help tremendously fight against depression for an individual.

Irritability and outbreaks

Those who have some form of brain injury are more likely to become irritable and have a quick temper overall. A lot of frustration can lead to a build-up, and lashing out is one way people cope with those frustrations.

Much like anxiety and depression, reducing as many stressors as possible is one way to really go about fixing this type of irritability. It also requires a lot of people around an individual to help as much as possible. Temper problems are something that nobody wants to have to deal with, but they can be handled with a strong support group.

Why support matters

Family and friends are a great support for handling these issues, but there is also the opportunity to join brain injury support groups, receive peer mentoring, and so much more. Fighting against these issues is hard to do without assistance, and it is recommended to seek out as much help as possible.

It is important to understand just how much emotional and mental health issues can escalate without any type of treatment. We at the Viewpoint Center come across many people who have dealt with brain injuries in the past, and we always strive to get them going in the right direction during their time here.