This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Changes in Memory After TBI. Dr. David Arciniegas discusses Emotional Impact of Memory Problems.

When we talk to people who have memory problems after TBI, I think what we hear often is not just a little bit of frustration the way many of us experience our everyday memory failures when we have them, but something that feels so out of sorts with how they expect themselves to function that it becomes not just a little irritating, but angering.

Even sometimes enraging. When I see people in clinic, oftentimes people are brought because they're having, if you will, an emotional problem after their brain injury. They're getting anxious. They're getting angry. And when you start peeling back the layers of what actually has happened, what you find underneath it is what we might call a cognitive failure, that actually, but for the troubles that they're having with memory or attention or language, those anger outbursts or emotional disturbances might not be happening in the same way.

It can be really striking for people, and it can become quite limiting in terms of everyday activities, whether that's interactions with other people or with family, with children, with spouses, with employers, even strangers in the – in public. These problems with memory and other cognitive abilities, once there, can be very disruptive, not only for the sake of their own learning and use in everyday life, but with the emotions that they tend to engender.

It's a very, very distressing experience to not be able to do what you need to do thinking- and memory-wise every day.

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