Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Cause Behavioral Problems and Personality Disorders

The gold standard for studies of people before and after traumatic brain injuries determined that individuals were three times as likely to suffer a mental or personality disorder (PD) following their TBI. Researchers observed that

The most common post-TBI PDs were: borderline, avoidant, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive and narcissistic. Men were more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial PD and narcissistic PD. Individuals with pre-TBI PDs were at greater risk of acquiring additional psychopathology post-TBI. Personality traits endorsed by more than 30% of the sample post-TBI reflected loss of self-confidence, attempts to cope with cognitive and interpersonal failures and negative affect.


You do not need to be a licensed psychiatrist who can cite the DSM-5 the way others quote Shakespeare to understand that short- and long-term difficulties for TBI victims go far beyond headaches and dizziness. And as personal injury lawyers who work with families in Virginia and North Carolina, we know that a serious change in behavior and personality takes a terrible toll on loved ones.

We regularly hear about the sudden onset of relationship-destroying issues like

  • Insomnia,
  • Agitation,
  • Alternating episodes of mania and depression,
  • Substance abuse and addiction,
  • Emotional outbursts,
  • Rages,
  • Lack of judgment,
  • Poor impulse control,
  • Loss of respect for the law and authorities.
  • Aggressiveness, and
  • Violence.

Problems may escalate over time, and cures can be impossible to find when the cause is irreparable damage to the frontal lobe of the brain. A traumatic brain injury sometimes literally takes away the person who existed before an accident.

And make no mistake: A concussion can be a life-altering TBI, especially when a person has suffered more than one serious brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention technically classifies a concussion as a mild TBI, but the symptoms can be devastating.

When we take a case for a client who is suffering from a brain injury, our Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys push for a settlement or jury award that includes funds for lifelong physical, mental and behavioral care. Since a TBI negatively affects every aspect of a person’s life—sometimes for the rest of their life—compensation paid by the negligent or reckless party that inflicted the brain injury should cover all the damages.