The psychological effects of concussion in children
Concussions aren’t only about physical side effects. These mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) can result in emotional changes, as well. While most children will recover quickly with little to no emotional side effects, some kids and teens may experience emotional side effects following a concussion. Let’s explore how concussion affects the brain, and what we can do, as parents, to help our kids through the process…
If it feels like your toddler or teenager has jumped onto an even more extreme emotional rollercoaster since having a concussion, you may be right! Traumatic brain injuries can cause damage to areas of the brain responsible for managing emotion and behavior. The patient may respond suddenly and extremely to a mild event – or nothing at all.
Mood swings may include laughing or crying for no particular reason. This can be difficult for the person, as well as family members. While emotional balance often restores itself naturally, some parents choose to explore mood-stabilizing drugs and therapies offered by psychologists and physicians. However, it’s important to note that mood swings may also be resolved naturally by balancing the brain’s chemistry through supplements.
Outbursts and Irritability
Irritability is one of the most common emotional side effects associated with concussion. Outbursts and irritability may be present in more than two-thirds of all individuals who have suffered a concussion.
Irritability may be caused directly by trauma to the brain, or may be caused indirectly by the person’s pain and frustrating situation. It’s important to understand that experiencing a concussion and having temporary or long-term changes in how you feel and your daily routine can be isolating and scary for many children and teens.
Family members should understand that this bad behavior is not their fault or – in many cases – the fault of the patient. Try to eliminate stressors and set some rules and boundaries for having conversations only after your child has calmed down.
Anxiety & Depression
Having a brain injury can result in a sense of loss. The isolating nature of a concussion, compounded with the fact that the final outcome may be unknown, can lead to depression and anxiety in many children and teenagers. The time needed for recovery may feel especially long for adolescents, who may be forced to stay home from school or sit on the bench during their team’s practices and games.
While depression and anxiety caused by concussion often resolve on their own, balancing the brain’s chemicals through proper nutrition and supplementation may help resolve the issues sooner.
Managing the Emotional Effects of Concussion In Children
If your child is struggling with depression, anxiety, moodswings, outbursts or irritability following a concussion, help may be available. Many parents have had success in improving both the physical and emotional side effects associated with concussion by pursuing an integrated brain wellness program. An integrated brain health program may incorporate things like…
- Brain stimulation and breathwork
- Supplements, nutrition and hydration
- Physical fitness promoting healthy blood flow to the brain
- Cognitive stimulation with brain games
Help is available. Over time, many parents are able to resolve these emotional and behavioral issues associated with concussion.