Sometimes, it can be hard for people with TBI to control their feelings. This comic talks about changes in mood or feelings that may happen after a traumatic brain injury.

Some people with TBI may have intense mood swings, anxiety, or depression. This difficulty can be caused by damage to the parts of the brain that regulate basic emotions. As a result, TBI patients may feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. The comic explains:

  • How to help manage a TBI patient’s emotional experience
  • Why anxiety happens and how it affects emotional responses
  • Common symptoms of depression and what causes depression after a TBI
  • How medication, doctors, friends, family members and peer groups can help

TBI patients have difficulty controlling their emotions

Emotional Liability

Damage to the brain

Talk to counselors to cope

Counseling can help

How can your family help?



Making Mistakes


Cause Anxiety

Memory of incident

How does anxiety happen?

Too many demands on a person

What can you do about anxiety?

Environmental Stress

Add structure

Counseling is good for managing anxiety


Common Symptoms

Depression and effect of brain injury

What causes depression after TBI?

Lasting disability

Adjusting to new role

Chemical changes to the brain

What can be done about depression?

Not a sign of weakness

Aerobic exercise

Counseling or medication can help

Take action

Temper Outbursts

Family Members

Reasons for anger

What can I do?

Reduce the stress

Basic anger management

Counseling or medication can help

Family can help too

Some other ways to calm down

What's the next step?

Talk to your doctor

More about medications

Work closely with your doctor

There can be a delay to medication

Your dose may be adjusted

Peer support

Friends can help

Peer mentoring

A brain injury support group

Contact your local support group


Information Source of Emotional Changes After TBI Infocomic

The Emotional Changes After TBI infocomic is based on the factsheet Emotional Changes after TBI. This factsheet was developed by Tessa Hart, PhD, and Keith Cicerone, PhD, in collaboration with the University of Washington Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center.

Related Resources for Emotional Changes After TBI

To learn more, check out our resources page about emotional problems after TBI.