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Social and emotional changes

Social settings and stress

Social settings

After a brain injury, it may be hard to go to a restaurant, a party, or other social settings. A brain injury can cause you to do impulsive things, like speaking out without thinking about the impact your words have. You may also not know the proper way to act in social settings or for a certain situation.

Being in a social or public setting you don’t know may also lead to acting out of place.

Tips for family and caregivers

These tips will help you prepare your loved one for an event and let you know what to do during and after an event.

  • Before an event
    • Explain how to act in a job interview, at a funeral, in church, or in other social settings.
    • Plan and practice how to act so they know what to expect and what to do.
    • Decide on a signal (like a word or movement) that will let them know to stop what they’re doing and think before they talk or do something.
  • During an event
    • Have them slow down and think about how they’ll respond.
    • Have them think about the impact their behaviour has.
    • Give positive feedback for correct behaviour.
    • Get them to take a break if you see they’re getting frustrated or tired.
    • If they’re not acting in a proper way, calmly talk to them about it in a private place.
    • Encourage them and set realistic expectations.
  • After an event
    • Go over how things went.
    • Make sure they know what behavior and responses were right and went well.


Having physical changes and changes in thinking after a brain injury can often lead to stress and emotional problems. Memory problems and having trouble controlling emotions can be very hard to deal with. This can lead to feeling depressed, anxious, or frustrated. In some cases, you may deny there’s a problem or what’s causing it if you’re afraid or confused.

Tips for family and caregivers

Some people feel angry about their condition and take their anger out on their family. Others may give up hope and become depressed and withdrawn. The way they adapt to changes depends on the injury, what their personality was like before the injury, and the support of family and friends. It can take many years to adjust to changes caused by a brain injury.

  • To help your loved one:
    • Encourage them, other family members, and close friends to talk about their fears and concerns.
    • Help them set realistic goals.
    • Stay positive.
    • Find out if there are programs to help you cope.​

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