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.


"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
"Healthy teens are better at identifying strategies to deal with barriers. KIDS WITH ABI'S CAN'T!"
Shari Wade; USA
"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
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we deliver neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
Vicki Anderson; Australia
"Case management for children and young people post acquired brain injury is 'pivotal' to successful outcomes and must be local"
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
"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
"With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"Pediatric neuro-rehabilitation cannot be delivered in isolation. The needs of the child have to be looked at both holistically and within the context of the family unit. Parents need to be empowered to be parents in post-acute pediatric neuro-rehabilitation following brain injury"
The Children's Trust; United Kingdom
"Different 'experts' involved in paediatric 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

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