Quick Facts

    • Many individuals experience anxiety following a brain injury.
    • Stress can build over time to become anxiety or it can be a reaction to a specific situation.

What does it
look like?

    • Major life changes
    • Changes to the individual’s cognitive skills and personality
    • Previous experiences of anxiety or those with family history of anxiety may have a higher risk of experiencing anxiety
    • Stress (work, finances, family)
    • Side-effects of medication
    • Illicit drugs
    • Concerns about the future, life has changed from the injury and the future is unknown.
    • Anxiety may lead to low self-esteem and poor quality of life
    • Anxiety may complicate the individual’s rehabilitation and interfere with relationships and communication.

Possible Causes and Complications

    • The most common symptoms of anxiety include fear, worry, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.
    • Sometimes people express anxiety by being irritable, tired, as muscle tension, shortness of breath, or by looking panicked.
    • May withdraw and isolate themselves and find it difficult to engage in activities of daily life.
    • May become suspicious of new people and events, obsessional in thoughts or actions.

What can we do?

    • Anxiety can be treated with therapies or medications, talk to your family doctor if symptoms persist for more than two weeks.
    • Identify and alleviate anxiety as soon as possible to reduce the risk of frustration and anger
    • Do not try to reason away the anxiety
    • Encourage the individual to:
      • Practice relaxation techniques
      • Exercise regularly
      • Participate in an activity or hobby they enjoy
      • Talk with family and friends about how they are feeling
      • Focus on one thing at a time and stick to a routine
      • Reduce the number of demands
      • Focus on what is in their control
      • Be positive and realistic about the future
      • Build confidence by setting simple and achievable tasks before presenting tasks that are more difficult
      • Learn as much as you can about brain injury and manage the individual’s changes in a calm and confident manner.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace advice from a medical doctor. Consult a health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.