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9 ways to help with anger problems: tips for families, friends and carers

Sun 24 Jul 2016

Following on from our article 10 ways to manage anger: tips for brain injury survivors, we've put together a list of nine techniques that family members, friends and carers can use to help deal with anger problems after brain injury.

Anger is a common and particularly difficult problem after brain injury, often leading to unpredictable, destructive and aggressive behaviour. It can be very hard to be on the receiving end of someone's anger, which is often directed at those who are closest to us. 

What can help?

Dr Gemma Elliot, Clinical Neuropsychologist and Trustee of Headway Lincolnshire

"Anger is one of the many emotions which can be expressed differently, or be less controlled following a brain injury.  Many factors may underlie the changes including (but not limited to) damage to the frontal lobes and limbic system, and overstimulation.  It is also important to consider the impact of factors such as social circumstances, previous personality, and the balance between current demands and resources. 

"Developing an understanding of what is going on for each individual is essential in order to direct the type of support and intervention required. Whilst hints and tips can certainly be useful, there is no one strategy which will work for everyone.  Neuropsychologists may be in a position to assess and advise. 

"As well as being distressing and confusing for the person themselves, altered emotions can have a significant impact on those close to them. Support should therefore be directed towards both the individual and their family.  Sometimes developing the understanding of others (and altering their responding) can be the key to moving forwards." 

Find out more

It is always important to seek professional advice and support where the effects of a brain injury, including anger, are causing a problem. Firstly, speak to your doctor who may refer you an appropriate specialist such as a neuropsychologist. 

Many Headway groups and branches offer support to help people cope with the effects of a brain injury, and their carer support groups can be a great way to talk to others who are in a similar situation. You can also contact our national helpline on 0808 800 2244 or for support and information. 

Our booklet Managing anger after brain injury (PDF) gives more detailed information and guidance. 


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Headway relies on voluntary donations to continue our work. If you'd like to help us to improve life after brain injury, you can click here to make a donation


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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