Can Anxiety Disorders Come from a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Can anxiety disorders come from traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Why would a TBI affect your mental health? Learn how TBI affects more than the brain at HealthyPlace and start healing the anxiety TBI can cause. Don't wait--read this.

Can anxiety disorders come from a traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Anxiety disorders can be challenging, and it’s natural to want to know what causes them. Anxiety disorders, like all mental illnesses, are disorders of the brain. The brain is an organ of the body, and it can experience disease and/or injury just like any other organ. Traumatic brain injury can cause serious damage inside the brain. Depending on what part of the brain is damaged, TBI can lead to mental illness. Anxiety disorders can, indeed, come from a traumatic brain injury (Relationship Between Head Injury and Anxiety Proven to Exist).

Because March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, this is an opportunity to consider the impact brain injuries can have on mental health and mental illness. According to ScienceNordic,

If you suffer a head trauma, your risk of developing certain mental disorders increases significantly – in some cases by more than 400 percent.1

Anxiety disorders are among the “certain mental disorders” that can come from a brain injury.

The Anxiety Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injury Connection

Life can feel frustrating and difficult after a TBI. Just as a broken leg doesn’t work right in moving you from place to place, an injured brain doesn’t work right in its many and complex tasks. Among other things, an injured brain can be an anxious brain. The Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System reports that approximately 58% of brain injury patients develop anxiety (The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Combat PTSD).

Depending on where and how the brain is injured, the connection between TBI and anxiety disorders can be deep and multifaceted. Anxiety itself is brain-based, so damage to certain areas of the brain can cause anxiety disorders.

Also, the very symptoms of brain injury can be so disruptive, so bothersome to someone’s life, that they cause anxiety. The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Memory problems
  • Organizational and/or planning issues
  • Decision-making difficulties
  • Being easily overstimulated by crowds, noises, etc.
  • Increased susceptibility to pressure and stress
  • Fear and worry that others will judge you as stupid, incompetent, unreliable
  • Worry about making mistakes
  • Anxiety about the brain injury symptoms themselves

Hope for Anxiety Disorders that Come From Traumatic Brain Injury

The human body possesses an amazing ability to heal. To be sure, many times brain injury involves permanent damage. However, a degree of healing does occur, and people have remarkable capacity to transcend their difficulties, to adjust, and to fix what can be fixed (Brain Change And PTSD: Proof Recovery Is Possible). Anxiety is very treatable (unfortunately, it’s not always quick and easy, but it is, indeed, treatable).

Some things that people can do when faced with anxiety disorders that come from traumatic brain injury include:

  • Rest, rest, rest – that’s how the brain--and with it, anxiety--heals.
  • Attend to your environment (reduce noise, keep light levels low).
  • Practice self-care.
  • Establish a routine to reduce the need for decision making/concentrating and to lower stress.
  • See medical doctors and follow their instructions, medications, etc.
  • See a therapist to help deal with the anxiety.

My own experiences with anxiety came from a brain injury. I was anxiety-prone before the TBI, but the actual anxiety disorders developed post-TBI -- ditto bipolar 1 disorder. Here, too, I had mild symptoms before the injury, but the brain injury exacerbated them. I know first-hand that TBI can contribute to mental illness. That also means that I know that people can transcend their troubles, rising above even mental illness and brain injury. I am sincere when I write that there is hope for anxiety disorders that come from brain injury.



  1. Head injury can cause mental illness. (2014, January 3). Retrieved March 21, 2018.


APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2016, March 10). Can Anxiety Disorders Come from a Traumatic Brain Injury?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monica Warrior
August, 5 2018 at 7:14 pm

Hello Ms.Peterson, I never thought I would experience a trauma & relate to several ppl that have shared their experiences here. I'm hoping you're able to read my experience and I would truly appreciate your insight.
I'm the type of person who has been traveling for the past 8 yrs alone and used to being up and about. However everything changed after my accident.
On Feb 27 I was traveling by myself to the state of Washington. I had a 1 hr 30 min layover in Utah. The night before I got very little sleep not by choice and my last meal was at 7pm. My first flight was at 5am I felt fine but hadn't had breakfast yet. My second flight was at 9.45 at Utah so I had arrived at 7.30am. I decided to get breakfast & usually I'll get fruit with yogurt something fresh not hot. There was nothing around & I had already walked miles to get to my gate and I was starting to feel lightheaded, besides feeling sleep deprived. I was forced to get a pizza pretzel and unfortunately right after eating half of it, irritated my stomach so bad I wanted to throw up. I panicked cause my flight was leaving soon. I asked if I can change my flight to a later one since I was feeling very sick and couldn't get on the plane. They had me back and forth and everything happened so fast I was feeling worse and worse. By the time I reached the person who would finalize plane changes, I just remember feeling extremely dizzy, saw black & felt like I wanted to sleep deeply. When I realized maybe 2 minutes later, I was on the floor and felt a very sharp pain on my head but couldn't make sense of anything. I couldn't open my eyes for a long time and since it was the airport, a lot of ppl ran towards me, I could hear there footsteps from a distance but it felt like they were far away & could barely hear them. Some would say check if her head is bleeding, her head bounced on the hard floor, get her a pillow, raise her feet up & call the paramedics. Someone was holding my hand and asking me questions so I wouldn't loose conscience again. I could barely speak and I was extremely terrified, I was alone didn't know anyone. I could feel tension, anxiety, pain, panic, extreme fear all over my body, trembling and sweating. Apparently I had fallen flat backwards, I don't even remember the fall or the hit, I just barely remember being on the floor. I was very fortunate to have my backpack on but when I fell my head bounced on the floor, at least I didn't bleed. However, the next 2 weeks were terrible with pain, anxiety, nightmares and got worse and worse. I couldn't eat, sleep, go out. I developed a fear of traveling. There's just so many details. But fast forward till now about 5 months later, just on Thursday I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and will start therapy on Monday. I tried a medication Lexapro 20mg on Thursday and it made me very sick, worse than ever. It's the first I've tried medication and it didn't help me at all. For the past 3 days I've experienced a lot of anxiety than in the past 3 weeks and can't eat well since medication ruined my stomach. I've lost a lot of weight, I'm 24 and weight 93 pounds when I was 103 and the most I've reached is 110. I'm trying natural remedies and other techniques that have been helping me somewhat. I have anxiety in almost everything I do and it drains me and makes me feel depressed for I haven't felt myself, not normal since the accident.

August, 6 2018 at 2:38 pm

Hi Monica,
What a horrible experience, and I'm sorry you've been going through this. Have you had medical evaluations for your head trauma? Sometimes, doctors aren't sure what to do, but other times, doctors are knowledgeable about brain injury (which means you might have to do some exploring to find the right doctor). The Brain Injury Association of America is a great resource for learning about TBI and finding help. Many states have their own associations, too. Try searching "brain injury association [your state]. It's great that you're seeking help for anxiety. A brain injury can (but doesn't always) impact the way medication works, so that is something to discuss with your doctor. Thinking of yourself as one whole system rather than compartmentalized into "anxiety" and "head injury" can be helpful. Treat your whole self (nutrition, hydration, sleep/rest, light exercise, stress and anxiety management, etc.) will help healing and anxiety recovery. Both your doctor and therapist can help with this. Head injuries can take a while to heal, so be patient with yourself and know that the brain does heal. You won't always feel this anxious and miserable. Oh, and not feeling normal or like yourself since the accident is extremely common among people who sustain head injuries. I know this firsthand. Just consider it part of your journey toward recovery. :)

Monica Warrior
August, 11 2018 at 4:13 pm

Thank you very much for your response :) I appreciate all the information provided and will take in consideration. This Monday I went to my first appointment with a psychologist and was explaining to me how I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes the anxiety and fear, the levels are so high and have to come back to normal. Medication can help but I haven't decided yet to go with that route. However I am trying natural remedies & supplements, along with a healthy diet & learn techniques to help me control my negative thoughts. I was also referred to a counselor who specializes in generalized anxiety disorder & depression. Although it will take time and a lot of effort, I have hope that I can get through this and conquer my biggest fears. To be able to travel again by bus and plane and not have that fear, because it's part of my life, I've spent half my life traveling up and down on my own. I have faith that I'll be able to eat better, the anxiety is so bad and causes my digestive problems. I will give the medication another chance soon but I still don't know yet. I'm scared I will admit, my anxiety makes me believe I can't do it and can't get over my fears, can't eat, can't sleep, it makes me think everything will go wrong again and makes me think I'm stuck in this black hole I can't get out of. But I'm strong and brave I will continue to cope and get through.

August, 14 2018 at 3:00 pm

Hi Monica,
Keep believing in yourself like this! It's okay to have fears. Fear and anxiety are part of being human, but it's possible to reign them in and live well with the ones that linger. Eventually, some will be gone and the others will exist in the background and you'll know how to keep them from bothering you. Right now it's difficult because the brain injury complicates things. Be patient, and remember that you are strong and brave and can cope and get through (your words!). As far as the medication goes, I'm not a doctor and would never try to give advice about prescriptions. I will just say that it's okay to be hesitant. If you want to wait for awhile, you can definitely do that. Take time to decide what is right for you. When you do that, any decision you make will be the right one.
Make great moments every single day, and you'll be well on your way to solid recovery!

September, 20 2020 at 1:34 pm

My name is Wayne and on July 21, 2014, my life changed forever. My son, who was 10 years old at the time and I were involved in an ATV accident. My son and I do not remember anything about the the accident or how it even occurred ( and no alcohol or drugs were not involved that much i do know). My son suffered a fractured scull and as a result has dead brain tissue, however he required no surgery. My wife was told that the remaining brain tissue will compensate for the dead tissue but he will no longer be able to participate in any contact sports. My son is now 16 years old excelling at school and plays baseball. My son made a full recovery, however we do have yearly follow up appointments with him at All Childrens Hospital in St. Pete. I was in a coma for approximately three weeks. Once I came out of my coma I did not know what was going. As I was laying in the hospital bed I realized I had two chest tubes, tracheotomy, and a feeding tube. Since I am a Deputy Sheriff, my first thought was that someone had shot me while I was on duty. When my wife informed me about the ATV accident my first thought was about my son. At this time my son was still in the hospital at All childrens and I was brought to a trauma center in Manatee County. According to my wife my the paramedics wanted to transport my son and I to bayfront medical center, however i became aggressive towards the paramedics who were attempting to treat me( I was awake and walking around but I did not know what was going on or aware of my actions). Due to the delay in getting me onto the helicopter the paramedics believed taking me to a closer trauma center would be best. Once I arrived at the trauma center, the physicians told me wife I only had a 1% chance of survival and if I did survive I would likely be a vegetable. Somehow and someway after months of therapy and treatment I returned to full status as a Deputy Sheriff. I will say that although I was raised a catholic and believe in god, I am in no way a religious person. (I definitely should be since i survived the accident) While i was at the hospital I felt as if i was the main attraction at a freak show. I had doctors not who were not even part of my care plan continuously coming into my room just to see me. Evidently word spread through the hospital about my accident and how i escaped death. Once I returned home I was contacted by the trauma center marketing department to request if would be interested in being in a commercial titles "UNEXPECTED SURVIVORS" for the hospital. Due to scheduling conflicts i was never able to make my television debut. LOL.
Since my return to work I have always felt as if I were always under the microscope as a result of my accident. I never really discussed this with anyone but have always felt I was treated differently post accident. Just recently after some work issues, my wife made the comment "It seems like you have this black cloud over your head at the Sheriffs Office since your accident. You are always looked upon as the Deputy who almost killed himself and his son in an ATV accident. When my wife made that statement to me I almost fell off the couch because although I never discussed my feelings with her about how i felt at work, she hit the nail on the head so to speak. My wife told me that I was a great father and although we dont know what happened she knows I was behaving in a reckless manner with my son.
During the past six months I have felt i have been under the microscope with my Lieutenant. It seems he scrutinizes every move I make to the point my anxiety levels have gone through the roof. As a result of the atmosphere at work I have been unable to sleep on the nights before work and it has been affecting my relationships with my wife and kids. Everyday i log on for the day i cannot help but to think what issues this supervisor is going to start with me today. This past July my son had a baseball game in Georgia which our family attended.. As a result of the COVID pandemic travel for employees at the Sheriffs Office had been restricted. We were prohibited to travel to states with high community spread of COVID. If we were to travel anywhere we were instructed to notify our health/safety nurse upon our return. When I returned from Georgia I contacted our agency nurse and she advised that I would have to quarantine for 14 days since Georgia has high community spread. Having the nurse tell me this caused my anxiety to increase exponentially because i must have missed the email about travel restrictions to the state of GA. I knew once my supervisor found out about my recent travel he would surely do what every he could to get me in trouble. Yes i know my next move was dumb and i should have known better, but when i was asked by my supervisor if i had traveled to Georgia, I told him that I did not ,yes I was untruthful. I attributed my mental health at this point to be in crisis mode due to my anxiety. I have always had undiagnosed anxiety prior to my accident, however i believe my Traumatic Brain Injury exacerbated it. I think my work environment for the past six months being under the microscope certainly contributed to my mental state. For the past few weeks I have been approved for FMLA and will not return to work until the end of October. Just prior going out on FMLA I was contacted by our internal affairs bureau that i was being investigated for being untruthful about my travel to Georgia. So upon my return to work i have to provide a statement and of course i will confess to being untruthful, however i am possibly facing termination. (for the record i am not considered a problem child at work and rarely get into trouble for policy violations) For the life of me i just dont understand why the agency coming down so hard on me about something very minor. As a result of this situation I retained an employment attorney to help me navigate this mess. I am no doctor but i truly believe the my Traumatic Brain Injury coupled with the work stress i was under contributed to my anxiety and panic when I lied about my travel to GA.
As a result of my recent issues at work I finally returned to see my neurologist and have been seeing mental health counselor once a week, In addition to the neurologist and counselor I have also been doing Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment for my TBI. When my FMLA started a few weeks ago I was depressed and had suicidal thoughts, fortunately my wife helped through that period. Not that I am even sure If I was ever normal but, i just want to get back to the way I was prior to my TBI, I am sick and tired of feeling this way, I just want to get better. I will admit since being on FMLA I have felt as if i have been improving little by little. I had my first appointment with my psych doctor the other day and he prescribed lamictal. I have not taken it yet as i am scared of the possible side effects.

September, 23 2020 at 12:14 pm

Hi Wayne,
What a horrific ordeal. I'm very sorry to read of the accident and everything you are continuing to experience. From my own experiences, I know that some work places have a hard time trusting people after a brain injury and end up behaving in a toxic manner, which of course can contribute to anxiety and other mental health challenges. It sounds like you're determined to get better and are taking really helpful steps. Seeking professional help goes a long way toward healing in general. It's a long process, but healing can and does happen, so don't give up on yourself! It can be so hard to know what to do when it comes to medication. Seek all the information about benefits and side effects that you can (ask your doctors, pharmacists, read up on it) and then make the decision that is right for *you* (everyone is different -- which makes the decision even more difficult!). Step by small step, keep taking action and moving forward. You'll see results!

Lou Virgilio
August, 2 2018 at 9:33 am

Thank you so much Ms. Peterson for your response! I appreciate your comment and words of encouragement. When I first wrote my little story , I thought it would never be read by anyone or at least never be responded to. Your the real deal !!! Thank you and I will continue to educate myself including your recommendations of things to read. Be healthy!!!!!! Lou

Lou Virgilio
July, 15 2018 at 2:49 pm

Hello there. I actually never thought I’d write something like this but for some reason it feels like I should or need to. In 2002 while riding my bicycle to the gym on a beautiful sunny day I was hit from behind by a Ford Explorer. Besides many broken bones I had a fractured scull with 3 brain bleeds. The worst was in the frontal lobe. I spent months trying to get back to myself and fought the fact that life changed probably forever
. I lost all sense of taste and smell due to the frontal lobe injury. I worked with many doctors with medication due to outbursts of anger, personality changes, impulsive behavior and depression. Anxiety hadn’t kicked in at this point. I tried many different medications until I got to Lamictal. That seems to do what I need without side effects. All went well for years but in the last few years anxiety has built Closed in places, crowds, social events, fear of getting lost while driving although I drove a truck for a living !! All of this just doesn’t make sense. The “what if’s” are crippling sometimes. The butterflies build in my stomach and it becomes difficult to deal with some situations. My doctor prescribed Klonopin so for years I don’t go anywhere without it “ just in case “. Medical marijuana is now an option in NJ and I know Klonopin is addictive so it may be the way to go. My wife always tries to support me and feels that Lamictal is needed but really doesn’t understand my anxiety feelings so any medication for that she feels is unnecessary. In fact I have to hide it when I take it. This snow balls into more anxiety. So here I am 16 years later, retired and living a dream. Sometimes a good dream and sometimes in a dream like state. All is good, I stay healthy, work out 5 days a week , eat and sleep well. If I could only kick this anxiety!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for your website and giving a shoulder to cry on. Enough of the “ Poor Me “ stuff. Be healthy.

July, 18 2018 at 2:12 pm

Hi Lou,
I'm sorry to read of all you've been through. You seem to have a fantastic outlook on life and are still embracing it. You can have this great attitude and do the things you're doing and still be frustrated with anxiety. You're not wallowing in "poor me" -- just venting. Given the nature of anxiety, the brain, and brain injury. there is a chance that the anxiety might be here to stay, at least the physical/structural/neurological component. This doesn't mean you have to give into it and give up! I'd never advocate that. You might consider shifting your perspective about anxiety and developing ways to live well in spite of it's presence. It may be there, but you don't have to get caught up in it. This concept helped me a great deal with my own anxiety after my brain injury. Two approaches to doing this are mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These two articles briefly introduce mindfulness and ACT. If you'd like to do so, you can take a look. Even if you choose a different path, keep living well!
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Stop Avoiding Anxiety…
Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How:

June, 23 2018 at 2:00 pm

Wow two years later , and posts are still being addressed. Thats pretty darn awesome. .. My story is similar to most on here. I went into a diabetic coma almost 20years ago now. I had the whole out of body thing happen, and even visited other dimensions i guess. I was raised a christian, but didnt have a religious expirence, no angels no god no guide .. NOTHING. I was under for 2 weeks, then upon walking up i have had severe anxiety ever since. It is so bad where i just liver alone with my cat. See very little of my family, and have the smallest social interconnection if only absolutely necessary. This is like living my own personal hell, and thats where you go when you die i believe. So what ever your belief is is your next life..

June, 25 2018 at 7:20 pm

Hi StreetSpirit,
Thanks for joining the conversation and sharing your insights. I'm sorry to read that you've had anxiety ever since your coma. How disheartening. This might be a silly question, but I'll ask it anyway. :) Have you consulted a doctor who specializes in diabetes? Blood sugar levels are crucial to brain functioning, and it's possible that something was off in the time you were in a coma. The cause of anxiety can be hormone and neurotransmitter surplus or deficiency, blood sugar levels that are just slightly off, and nutritional deficiencies. It's not too late to investigate this. Also, talking with a mental health professional about your spiritual experiences can help you process them and explore different possibilities. Above all, you can turn your personal hell around to be a personal "paradise."

April, 11 2018 at 4:55 pm

Had a head injury back in 2016. I fell backwards from a chair and hit my head on a rock. Was dizzy for days. Had a ct scan and xrays done. Nothing major was found,but my family doctor said I had a slight concussion and mild whiplash. Since my fall my anxiety kept getting worse by the month until I started to have anxiety attacks. So I was wondering if its possible that my fall caused my anxiety to get worse.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 13 2018 at 10:51 am

Hi Brenda,
While I can't give you a diagnosis, I will say that it is indeed possible. I've read research reports about the connection between head injury and anxiety, and I know from personal experience that head injury can cause anxiety. So it's definitely possible. This can't take the place of medical checkups and advice, of course. Unfortunately, while researchers are finding connections, they haven't found solutions to TBI-induced anxiety. Time helps. So does treating your injured brain with continued rest, nutrition, hydration, shielding yourself from bright light and noise, and reducing screen time (TV, computers, mobile devices). Doing things to reduce your anxiety helps, too. Things like deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise (with a brain injury, you don't want to jar your head, but walking or swimming are good), and doing things that occupy your thoughts and attention in positive ways. Seeing a therapist can be helpful, too. Even though it's been almost 2 years, it's not too late to do these healing activities and reduce anxiety.

Linda Hatter/ Carl Hatter
March, 27 2018 at 6:58 pm

Head injury for my son since 1989, cam anyone give a med.that works, he's been on all. Thanks

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Linda Hatter/ Carl Hatter
March, 27 2018 at 6:59 pm

Extreme anxiety all the time.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 28 2018 at 10:02 am

Hi Linda and Carl,
To keep seeking help and improvement after almost 30 years is amazing, and your son is fortunate to have your support. You likely already know all of the resources available, but I'll share one just in case: It's the Brain Injury Association of America. They have a lot of information, although they don't recommend medications.

January, 13 2018 at 5:39 am

I was struck, and nearly killed by an automobile when I was 2 years old. As a younger child I was outgoing and extroverted. AS I freshman in high school, I developed severe anxiety. Twenty years later, here I am on this website still looking for answers. Why are they so hard to find? Why do I feel like people like me are swept under the rug and taken with a grain of salt? I've had enough and just want to feel normal, not sedated, and not crazy! Please help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 15 2018 at 7:42 am

Hi Todd,
Part of the answer to your question, "Why are answers so hard to find?" is one that you are probably well aware of: No one knows enough about the brain. Of course I can't know what it is like to be you, so I won't minimize your experiences by trying. I will say, though, that my own experience with TBI has been frustrating, especially because no one has really known what to do. There are doctors, researchers, and other professionals out there trying. They're even making progress. It's so complicated that the process seems agonizingly slow.
I have a feeling that you might have come across TBI information while seeking answers. I'm wondering if you've seen this brain injury referral site: It has a referral number plus links. If you call the number, the people might be able to point you in the right direction to find help. Also, HealthyPlace has a list of hotline numbers and referral services. While none are TBI-related, you can call about anxiety and other mental health concerns and tell them about your brain injury and past experiences. They can very likely give you some numbers of professionals in your area that could help. You can feel normal again, or at lest define a new normal that is very good, not sedated and crazy. Don't give up!

February, 5 2018 at 9:40 pm

I had a 200 lb metal ceiling drop on the top of my head. It compressed my spine. Several weeks later tbe headaches started. Dull and long lasting. Then I noticed that I was becoming confused about simple tbings in my life, such as trying to remember my daughter's name when I go to call her. A few dizzy spells and loss of time. Like once I was in the kitchen talking to my wife and then...poof...Im getting up off the bed and going to the bathroom. Still to this day I cant remember leaving the kitchen to even go upstairs. It felt like the time I was under anesthesia at the dentist. Like 2 different timelines were pieced together with a big gap someone changed the clock and tried to tell me so much time past but it doesnt feel like it did. I sometimes have to get out of the house because it LITERALLY looks like the ceiling is falling. I feel like im losing it. Help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 7 2018 at 9:02 am

Hi Anwaar,
What a terrible experience. Have you visited a neurologist who specializes in brain injury? Sometimes you have to travel to see one, which is inconvenient and complicated with insurance. If you can do so, it is well worth it. Also, have you visited with a therapist or psychiatrist? Some of what you describe does fit with PTSD, although I certainly wouldn't tell you with certainty that PTSD is the issue. It just might be worth checking out in person where you can receive a thorough evaluation.
These resources might help. The first is an article about PTSD and traumatic brain injury. It's from the VA, but it applies to everyone, not just military.
These sites may also be helpful: (National Resource Center for TBI)
Hopefully these are a good start to help you recover. And of course, try to see a brain injury specialist and a mental health professional if you can. Finally, you might also find a brain injury support group helpful. You can learn information, ideas, and resources. Check with your doctor, mental health professional, or search online for brain injury support groups in your area.
As debilitating as brain injuries can be, you can recover some functioning and learn how to cope with permanent issues. Treating accompanying issues, such as possible PTSD, will improve your quality of life, too. Stick with it and be patient. It's hard, but possible and worth it.

Barbara E.Young
August, 7 2017 at 8:54 am

Having a very difficult time,20 years ago brain injury from car accident,,, 17 year's finally started getting memory back due to a lot of bad thing's that happened.Everything they try a med other than zanax,,, I'm complety not myself and can't function. Year's didn't even feel pain levels. I'm desperate because their trying to give meds other than zanax.. Side effects are complety out if control and suicidal tendencies come taken them.zanax has been the only one that make's thought process100%.Basically down to just sleeping at night,seems the only thing that stops the brain so get sleep.20 year's latter I've finally reached the point more like I was before head trama,, and head trama has occurred more than once!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 8 2017 at 4:47 am

Hi Barbara,
Thank you for sharing this bit of your story. It will be comforting to others in a similar situation to know they're not alone. Brain injuries can wreak havoc on lives (I know firsthand!). Everyone is different, of course, so this is just my own experience: medication made everything worse for me. Finally, doctors found a good combination of low-dose medication that works. Doctors are supposed to be partners in care. They have medical knowledge, and you know your own brain and how you respond. If Xanax has worked and the new stuff doesn't, you have the right to speak up (and definitely communicate about the suicidal tendencies that the new meds cause). If these doctors don't listen, you also have the right to find a new doctor who will listen. Be true to yourself and what works for you!

earl j seeley
June, 6 2017 at 11:45 am

I have tbi which led shortly after injury 2 months to severe anxiety attacks when I overextended myself.....put on 1mg of lorazapam 3 times a day....but the more I read about lorazapam it looks like like alot of problems down the road.....been on it for 6wks.......should I try to gradually get off it now,,,?????? im 72 yr old ....thank you......

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 7 2017 at 2:32 pm

Hi Earl,
There is still so little known about what to do for brain injuries. That alone can be anxiety-provoking and incredibly frustrating. I went through something similar. I'm not a medical doctor, and HealthyPlace in general isn't in a position to make recommendations -- that could be very harmful. The safest and most effective way to make medication changes is to talk to your doctor. Be open about your experiences and concerns. If you feel like your doctor isn't fully listening (some are great at collaborating with patients, but others not so much), it's okay to find a doctor who does listen and talk to you about pros and cons. It's good that you're thinking about the present and the future. Doing so will help you thrive.

May, 15 2017 at 9:06 am

Isn't it ironic that you have an advertisement for Latuda, a bipolar medicine and you mention you had bipolar disorder. Why does our culture promote medicine likes its candy or perfume. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and put on HORRIBLE medicines Lithium, then Symbyax (which was $300 and I had to pay $100). Made me a zombie. Horrible. I was tired and I couldn't think. My herbal practitioners said I had Eating Disorder NOS which looks IDENTICAL to Bipolar Disorder. I used to eat bags of cookies and chips and candy and veggie burgers and veggie hotdogs. My put me on a diet of fish, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Thank the LORD for alternative medicine. I am so sick of pill salesmen LMAO.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 15 2017 at 5:02 pm

Hi Karen,
Thank you for your comment. Medication is an important--and often heated--topic. It's great that you shared your experience with medication and what works for you instead. HealthyPlace doesn't promote or condemn medication because it's such an individual thing. It's a decision that each person has the right to make with his/her doctor (and doctors should always be consulted because medication, including stopping medication, can be dangerous. Between posts, comments from readers, and even ads, we hope to arm people with a wealth of information so they can be an active part of their treatment process and are able to have informed conversations with doctors. Thank you for being part of the conversation!

May, 16 2017 at 8:07 am

Yeah right. How come you don't discuss herbal practitioners and chiropractors on this website? What about fish oil? Oh that's right, Nemo doesn't give kickbacks.

May, 15 2017 at 9:01 am

I went to an herbal practitioner and chiropractor and they helped me immensely. I am on herbs for Anxiety- Valerian. She also prescribed certain vitamins and minerals.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 15 2017 at 5:04 pm

Hi again, Karen. Just reinforcing my thanks for providing your input. (I also responded to your above comment. :) )

March, 16 2016 at 10:08 pm

I think my brain injury came from 30 years of beer drinking. The anxiety became chronic. I have been going to CBT therapy and have reduced beer drinking significantly. Now I am trying to focus on just today and forget the past and quit worrying about the unknown future. Exercise has helped.

March, 16 2016 at 2:07 pm

Tanya, thanks so much for your reply. So far, we know, through countless research, there is no separation between the mind and body (mind-body connection); and that emotional illness can affect the body in tremendous ways(influencing physical illness, pain, etc), and physical illness can alter neuro-chemical changes, influencing psychiatric symptoms (depression, anxiety PTSD, etc). It seems like a plausible theory that chronic psychiatric conditions could affect structural changes leading to additional conditions that can possibly become an "organic" disorder. There is fairly recent research out there about how chronic, long-term, use of the anti-anxiety medication - Xanax, can possibly cause structural changes/damage to parts of the brain that controls memory, high level cognition and behavior; increasing susceptibility to Alzheimer's Disease (for those with a family hx or propensity to already develop the disease). This research is new, and not meant to cause any alarm. Many of the excellent articles on Healthy Place, reinforces the ability to reverse damage, and lower likelihood of developing disease. I went off on a little tangent. But my point was to show the interconnectednes of the mind and body. And ultimately, the idea whether chronic psychiatric conditions or symptoms (anxiety, depression, etc) could cause structural changes in the brain to the level of developing a TBI/organic condition. I have chronic depression and anxiety, so I am very interested in this theory. Thanks for discussing this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2016 at 3:53 pm

Hello again Faye,
Very interesting! I love that new questions are being asked, old ones are being asked again, and research continues. You are so right about the mind-body connection, and the impacts of this connection are greater than people realize (or, rather, greater than what has been proven empirically -- yet). As far as reversing damage,etc., I am a firm believer in the human ability to heal and to find and maintain deep wellbeing. To do so means a positive (but not naive or Pollyanna) approach that honors both the mind and the body. Chronic conditions can be difficult (an understatement), and sadly there are't quick fixes, but with time people can overcome great obstacles and adapt to what can't be overcome. That's part of the brain's networks, too.

March, 16 2016 at 12:49 pm

This is a great article - the connection between TBI and anxiety. Specifically focusing on how TBI can cause an "anxious brain". I am curious about whether there is research about whether a chronic anxiety disorder can influence structural changes in the brain that can manifest a TBI? I read the article quickly and maybe this point was addressed and I missed it. Can you provide any information about the idea of Chronic Anxiety first, and the possibility of causing a TBI? Thanks much.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2016 at 1:12 pm

Hello Faye,
Your question is great. I have seen research and read articles about TBI causing anxiety disorders and about anxiety and the brain itself -- the brain with an anxiety disorder looks different in fMRI tests than a brain without anxiety. I have not read anything about an "anxious brain" causing damage like that found in a TBI. Of course, that does not mean that there isn't research and writing out there, only that I'm not aware of it! If there isn't research, there should be because that's a really valid question. is a site that provides a wealth of information about TBI, including TBI, anxiety and stress. This takes you directly to the anxiety and stress page: Don't give up on your question!

March, 14 2016 at 2:33 pm

Hi i have pretty much all the things on the list concentration is really bad and my memory....and im really anxious....but i have learned to never say much at all ....I was told that when i was a toddler my mum and dad were arguing and i was crying and dad hit me and i went in to the you think that could be the cause of a brain injury....(dad wasnt violent often)....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2016 at 12:57 pm

Hello Susan,
Any type of blow to the head can potentially be damaging. Not all are, though. Concentration and memory difficulties and anxiety can be bothersome and interfere in daily life. If you have concerns and/or you would like to improve these things, it would be a great idea to see a doctor. A doctor can potentially evaluate brain functioning as well as discuss anxiety medication with you. A therapist can be beneficial as well, once a doctor has done a physical examination. Consider seeing a doctor and therapist taking action for your quality of life!

March, 13 2016 at 11:56 pm

Hi, I am so happy to have stumbled upon an article like this. About two years ago I developed bacterial meningitis. It wasn't a TBI, but it was an acquired brain injury and all of what you described is what I experienced. I, too, have bipolar 1. Upon going into my coma I was in a full swing manic episode. After I woke up from my coma I was still manic. Slowly, yet surely, my cognition declined. My concentration and memory and processing were all severely distorted. This was especially frustrating for me because I have always been creative and always been a writer; those passions of mine became almost completely absent in my life. I also became somewhat emotionally blunted; did you experience anything like that? The anxiety only ever really came to me at night when I tried to fall asleep, even though I never really had a hard time falling asleep. The whole awareness of having brain-injured-like symptoms is extremely scary and anxiety provoking once you've come to realize the reality of your situation. I have been going to cognitive therapy for almost a year and it has been very beneficial for me. Thank you for sharing this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 14 2016 at 12:20 pm

Hi Sarah,
Thank you so much for your feedback and for sharing a bit of your own experience. Whether brain injury is traumatic or acquired, it's still brain injury. I'm glad that there's an increasing awareness about the seriousness of brain injury, but there's a long way to go. Too often, people suffer in silence, sometimes because they don't know what to do, sometimes because it's hard to admit these various functioning problems, and sometimes for different reasons altogether. It's frustrating how it changes our functioning, isn't it? I felt for awhile that I lost significant IQ points, that my problem-solving ability was destroyed, and more. And sleeping difficulties were new problems for me, too. Anxiety and its racing thoughts loved to be active at night. I'm very glad, and not surprised, to hear that cognitive therapy has been helpful for you. Others who read your comment will be encouraged. While I do notice lasting difficulties, they're minor and I've learned to compensate for them. Exercising my brain through reading, going to graduate school, attending therapy both in and outside of a hospital were all very helpful for me. The brain injury, bipolar disorder, anxiety are now things I deal with but aren't who I am (for awhile, I felt that these things were my identity). There's hope and healing for everyone, as you are seeing!

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