Brain Injury Impacts Emotional Response: Uncontrollable Laughter to Tears

The consequences of a brain injury vary among patients and may not be fully detected for weeks or months after impact. Researchers have found that victims of traumatic brain injury may suffer from personality disorders, irritability mood swings, depression and other cognitive defects. Now medical research is paying greater attention to the emotional impact of brain injury on veterans. According to a survey of more than 700 veterans with traumatic brain injury, 60 percent struggle with a neurological condition that caused them to lapse into uncontrollable laughter or tears.

According to an NBC report, the research was published by the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs and sheds light on the very complicated nature of brain injuries.

Our brain injury attorneys in Massachusetts know the complexity of injuries and the range of issues that complicate the lives of victims. For traumatic brain injury suffers, personality disorders and emotional issues can make it difficult or impossible to return to work or manage day to day tasks. Our priority is to help these victims recover just compensation so that they can focus on healing and moving forward after injury. In addition to advocating for our clients, we remain abreast of medical advancements and research that is relevant to brain injury survivors.

Uncontrollable laughter or tears is known as pseudobulbar (PBA) and has affected the lives of 2 million Americans who have suffered brain injury caused by strokes, impact, or degenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Veterans are a subset of this group who may have suffered brain injury in combat. Many of them have suffered from fits of laughter or crying that they are unable to control. The condition is highly stigmatized and can be socially ostracizing, especially for veterans who are trying to assimilate after returning home from combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Reports indicate that between 12 and 13 percent of soldiers returning from war have suffered from a traumatic brain injury. In addition to veterans, millions of Americans have suffered brain injuries resulting from falls, high impact sports, car accidents and work-related accidents. Data suggests that a high percentage of these victims are suffering symptoms of PBA, which can complicate the recovery and reintegration process. For veterans, the symptoms can make a veteran feel out of control of their emotions when in social situations.

Though tears and crying may be somewhat more common than the laughing spells, both can be severely disruptive for victims and their families. According to the VA, a pharmaceutical company has developed a drug to help treat the spells. While there is no common trigger for the spells, patients often report that the emotional physical reaction is often opposite from the emotion that the patient is feeling. Ultimately, the patient is suffering from disassociation from the event, which could make processing actual emotions more complicated.

The long-term impact of a brain injury can be severe and difficult to treat. Victims and their loved ones should pursue every avenue of recovery and support to ensure optimal recovery. Some victims, including individuals who have suffered in a car accident, may be entitled to financial support after a traumatic brain injury.

Call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.

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