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Can a traumatic brain injury cause “flat affect”?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2023 | Car Accidents, Catastrophic Injuries |

If you have survived a severe car accident, you know how hard the impact is when one car hits another- whether a truck, a smaller vehicle or even an object. Until a medical professional diagnoses you, there is no way to know what injuries you sustained and how severe they are.

A prevalent injury sustained in car accidents is a traumatic brain injury (TBI), an injury that changes how the brain works. TBI is a common cause of death and disability in the United States. Under the umbrella of TBIs there are many symptoms, including flat affect, which is the lack of a normal reaction to emotional stimuli.

What exactly is flat affect, and does it have a cure?

Affect refers to how you react or respond to an emotion, whether yours or someone else’s. This can be observed outwardly by seeing the patient experience a situation that evokes an emotional response. A person with a flat affect does not show typical signs of emotion. They could seem depressed, non-responsive, or even rude. They cannot respond normally to a situation involving emotions.

Is flat affect permanent?

It can be in certain cases. The brain is a delicate organ, and flat affect is a problem in the functioning of the frontal lobe of the brain, the area involved in expressing or responding to emotions. Flat affect can be a symptom of depression caused by a TBI or by the accident itself.

Some studies and treatments have shown that in some cases, patients with flat affect can recover, sometimes fully and sometimes in part. In other cases, flat affect is permanent and incurable.

TBIs are one of the most severe injuries a person can suffer in an accident. Unfortunately, there are various symptoms of TBI, including flat affect. Understanding what this means to get the care and compensation you need to recover is critical.