Agressive Outbursts

Physical Communication Cognitive Behavioural / Emotional

The parts of the brain that normally inhibit angry feelings and behaviour may be damaged as a result of a traumatic brain injury. This means that the person has a lower threshold and becomes angry more easily and more intensely. Outbursts of anger can come and go quite quickly and can be made worse by stress, fatigue etc. This can be difficult for family and friends to deal with.

If possible avoid known potential triggers for aggressive outbursts. If there is an aggressive outburst remain calm and do not argue with the person. Try to redirect attention elsewhere or remove the person from the situation if possible. If necessary remove yourself from the situation to allow the person to calm down. An aggressive outburst can flare up suddenly and just as quickly resolve itself. Often the person with the brain injury will understand that their behaviour was not appropriate once they have had time to calm down.

Alcohol and drug misuse with consequent intoxication may exacerbate agitation and aggression.

Aggression usually occurs early in the course of recovery and may resolve spontaneously. Use of medications to try to control aggression can have negative impacts on brain rehabilitation and need to be carefully considered and monitored if used.


"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
Recolo; United Kingdom
Child 1 - Aged 14 and 3 years after a traumatic brain injury
2019 2020 Change
REASONING 301/800 426/800   +  125
MEMORY 181/800 304/800   +  123
ATTENTION 463/800 573/800   +  110
COORDINATION 47/800 309/800   +  262
PERCEPTION 158/800 374/800   +  216
"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
Cerebra; United Kingdom
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."
Dalton Leong; Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"Participation in teen sports and normal activities leads to improved quality of life for children and young people post brain injury and helps to maximise outcomes"
Claire Willis; Australia
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Our 10 year study proves that family-led home-based neuro-rehab interventions deliver the best outcomes for children and young people"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"Brain development is complex and prolonged. Brain plasticity is influenced by a range of factors. Plasticity provides a base for neuro-rehab therapies and treatment"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."
Vicki Anderson; Australia

OUR MISSION: To work to remove inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Community Funded Charity Excellence Lottery Funded Youth Foundation BBC CiN