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Can a brain injury lead to violent behavior?

Throughout Edwardsville and St. Louis there is not a shortage of automobile accidents. Everyday it seems there is an accident in the news. They happen so frequently that oftentimes accidents, especially those that do not cause severe injuries, go unnoticed.

One of the most common and under-diagnosed injuries resulting from automobile accidents is traumatic brain injury. The effects of TBI can be dramatic, but they are sometimes more subtle. However, TBI can sometimes change a person's personality considerably. The medical field still has much to learn about the effects of head injuries and some of this is coming to light now that the Pentagon has confirmed the Army sergeant accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan had suffered a TBI in 2010.

It is well known that brain injuries can aggravate post-traumatic stress disorder and cause a lack of inhibitions as well as increased aggression. However, medical specialists have cautioned the public from jumping to the conclusion that a brain injury can cause this kind of severe violent behavior.

Some doctors have said that TBI may have been one of many factors that led to this horrific incident, but that it is highly improbable that a brain injury is to blame completely.

Changes in a TBI victim's behavior are most common when trauma is sustained to the brain's frontal lobes. Changes in behavior can include everything from depression and anxiety to inappropriate behavior.

It is important to speak with a physician after experiencing any head injury. Similarly, if a loved one was in an accident and is behaving strangely, it is important to take them to the doctor and get them checked out.

Source: NY Daily News, "Afghanistan soldier horror: How can a traumatic head injury change a person's behavior?" Lindsay Goldwert, March 14, 2012

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