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Traumatic Brain Injury - Social Filters

Robert Karns

People suffering from a traumatic brain injury can suffer damage to the prefrontal cortex or frontal lobes causing their "social filter" to be defective. The prefrontal cortex is located in the front of the brain. This area of the brain regulates behavior. This part of the brain acts as a social filter governing social control, suppressing emotional urges, sexual urges, and outbursts.

This area of the brain is one of the brain regions most susceptible to traumatic brain injury. When this area is damaged personality changes can result. A person who had been reserved can become reckless and impulsive. A formerly outgoing person can become quiet and withdrawn.

When this area of the brain is damaged it can negatively impact a person's ability to assess situations or perform tasks, particularly those of a moral or ethical nature. People suffering from injury to this area can exhibit a lack of behavior control, emotional distress, irrational fears, anxiety and irritability.

Damage to the frontal lobes interferes with the ability to control impulses, causing outbursts and inappropriate actions. It also interferes with the ability to appreciate consequences of behavior.

The damaging of this social filter can cause inappropriate behavior, and inappropriate outbursts.

Trauma can cause damage to the frontal lobes giving rise to destruction of the social filter. This can be from a blow to the head, falling and striking the head or being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

The first step in dealing with frontal lobe damage and damage to the social filter is proper diagnosis.

  • An evaluation by a neurologist reviewing all of the symptoms.
  • Proper neuroradiological imaging such as sophisticated forms of MRIs.
  • Neuropsychological testing that will show the deficits that the damage to the frontal lobe has caused.

The next step is to get the proper treatment to help with the damage to the frontal lobes and damage to the social filter.

  • Referral by the treating doctors to cognitive therapy. This is therapy for deficits and problems caused by traumatic brain injury.
  • Psychological counseling to help deal with the symptoms of the traumatic brain injury including depression and anxiety.
  • A neurologist must prescribe the proper medication to help with the frontal lobe injury and damage to the social filter. This can include a class of medications that includes Ritalin that helps stimulate the brain.
  • Joining a support group comprised of other brain injury victims in order to discuss common problems and techniques that are used to overcome these problems. Each state has their own Brain Injury Association that can help the injured person join a support group.
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