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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.


"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab centres. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."
Vicki Anderson; Australia
"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
"Poor parenting styles affects children's behavior; increased their learning disability; and had a negative impact on emotions; anxiety; anger management post brain injury"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"Healthy teens are better at identifying strategies to deal with barriers. KIDS WITH ABI'S CAN'T!"
Shari Wade; USA
"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
"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
"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
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"Children and young people have poor social competence post brain injury due to reduced cognition, executive functions, and emotional control. As a result they are twice as likely to have mental health issues in the future"
James Tonks; University of London
"Too often children and young people with ABI are discharged from hospital without specialist brain support that they and their families need to overcome lifelong challenges"
Andrew Ross; former Chief Executive of the Children's Trust

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