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What triggers anger after brain injury?

What triggers anger after brain injury?

In order to manage anger, it is important to be able to identify what is causing it.

Difficulties with managing anger are a common effect of brain injury. In order to manage anger, it is important to be able to identify what is causing it. In some instances, there is an external cause or trigger, and removing this can help to reduce or remove the survivor’s anger.

We asked our online community what their greatest triggers for frustration and anger were after brain injury. Here, we share some of the top triggers reported by brain injury survivors as well as offering a few tips on how to cope with them.

The following are some examples of commonly reported external causes or triggers of anger after brain injury: •	People not understanding or underestimating the impact of brain injury •	Consuming alcohol •	Busy, distracting environments •	Environmental factors such as temperature or noise •	Situations that require waiting such as in a queue or traffic •	Situations that make a survivor feel pressured or rushed

Top tips for coping with triggers


  • Discuss your triggers with family, friends and colleagues so that they are also aware of the situations in which you may start to feel angry.


  • Remove yourself from the situation that is causing you to feel angry, for instance leaving the room or ending a conversation. If you are with someone, explain that you are leaving because you need time to calm down and will return when you feel better.

Modify your environment

  • Being uncomfortable with the environment can cause irritation, which can gradually build up to anger. Examples include feeling too hot or too cold, loud noises, bright lights, being in a crowded place or being stuck in traffic. If possible, try to modify the environment to help with calming yourself down.

Get enough sleep

  • Try to have a regular sleep routine so that are getting enough sleep every night. Being tired can make people feel irritable, which can turn into anger if you get too tired through the day.

Manage alcohol intake

  • Drinking alcohol after brain injury is discouraged because it can affect a survivor more than it did before their injury. They may be more likely to get into fights or feel angry at the impact of their injury under the influence of alcohol. For further information and advice on managing alcohol intake after brain injury, download the factsheet Alcohol after brain injury below.

Avoid information overload

  • Some people find that their anger can be triggered by things they read on the news or on social media. Limit the amount of time you spend online or watching the news and try to be selective about what information you view. Try to avoid getting into arguments online as they may cause unnecessary frustration.

More information on this topic is available in the booklet Managing anger after brain injury.

The booklet is available to freely download below or from the Information Library. Alternatively, you can help support us by purchasing a copy through the Headway online shop.


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