Most people don’t appreciate just how much their brain does for them until they suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A brain injury can affect cognitive, sensory and motor functions. It can even affect breathing.
The brain also controls how we think, feel and process information. That’s why a TBI sometimes has a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Specifically, the limbic system, which encompasses crucial parts of the brain, controls people’s emotional and behavioral responses. If that section of the brain is injured, the psychological effects can be significant.
An injured person may not be aware of these changes. However, those around them will be. That means an employee who has suffered a TBI that has affected that part of the brain may not be able to return to work for some time even if they’re physically feeling fine.
What kind of psychological symptoms can a person experience?
A person who has suffered a TBI that has affected their limbic system may experience:
- Significant mood swings
- Increased anger and irritability
The last one of these often stems from the fact that the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system, controls people’s “fight or flight” response. An injury may cause someone to perceive threats where there are none and perhaps not react to real threats as they should.
These symptoms can be challenging to document for workers’ comp purposes
The severity of the psychological effects experienced by someone who has suffered a TBI can vary, of course. They’re more difficult to document than physical symptoms are. Therefore, it can be more difficult for an injured employee to prove that they are in no condition to go back to work if their remaining symptoms are “only” psychological ones – even if they’re being treated by a mental health professional. However, it can, in fact, be dangerous for them to return to work too soon.
If you’re having difficulty getting the continued workers’ compensation benefits you need as you recover from the psychological effects of a work-related TBI, you may want to consider seeking legal guidance.