– Irritability & Impatience Control
Increased irritability is very common following brain injury and many people have a reduced ability to tolerate any kind of pressure or noise. They are also often intolerant of other people’s mistakes and become impatient if kept waiting. The ABI survivor will often become very irritated by trivial things and is likely to be short-tempered if things do not work out as expected, or if someone disagrees with them. Many people are also likely to become irritated by anything that disrupts their concentration, such as children playing or doors closing loudly. This is partly because of the attention difficulties that were outlined earlier, i.e. the injured person will find it very difficult to screen out background noise and keep focused on what they are doing.
A combination of loss of emotional and behavioural control can result in unpredictable outbursts of uncontrolled rage, sometimes for the seemingly smallest thing. These can be frightening to those around as well as upsetting for the person concerned.
Many people with brain injury report that they are shocked by their loss of control and feel deep regret following an outburst. Irritability and an inability to manage anger are the result of damage to the parts of the brain that control emotional behaviour, tolerance and the ability to reason. Psychological reactions connected with the injury also play a part. For example, there can be frustration due to cognitive difficulties or feelings of anger towards others when in fact they are simply angry with themselves for