Neurobehavioral Problems

Persons with brain injury and other neurological conditions often experience lasting neurobehavioral problems. Cognitive deficits may include impairments in orientation, initiation, attention, concentration, discrimination, perception, learning, memory, and reasoning. Behavioral problems may include lack of motivation, inhibition, poor self-monitoring, irritability, apathy, aggressiveness, depression, lack of awareness, restlessness, unusual sexual behavior, and substance abuse. Physical difficulties may include fatigue, motor slowness, and diminished coordination.

Neurobehavioral sequelae are a consequence of both the client's reaction to loss of ability and neurophysiological changes in the brain. Researchers have found that behavioral and emotional problems cause greater impairments in family and emotional functioning than neuropsychological and physical disabilities. Behavioral problems related to depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal have been shown to be predominant.

Although some problems are resolved relatively early postinjury, deficits have been known to persist for a decade or more. The most common long-term difficulties include lack of social contact, personality change, slowness, decreased initiation, poor memory, restlessness, irritability, and bad temper. Persons injured before age 20 tend to have significantly more long-term difficulties. Persistent cognitive, behavioral, and physical problems impede employment and productive living after injury or neurologic insult.

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