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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.


"Case management for children and young people post acquired brain injury is 'pivotal' to successful outcomes and must be local"
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"Restoration of anatomical functions and relationships must be done within 2 months of brain injury"
Eyzyon Eisentein; Israel
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury. Stressful experiences alter brain development of a child, 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
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"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
"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
"Different 'experts' involved in pediatric neuro-rehabilitation come from different organisational cultures which causes conflict and has a negative effect on the outcomes for the child."
Barbara O'Connell; Ireland
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we delivery neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
Vicki Anderson; Australia

OUR MISSION: To work to remove (health) 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 Lottery Funded