Why Do People Experience Difficulties with Decision Making After a Brain Injury?

It is common for people to have issues with making decisions after a brain injury, which can have a significant impact on their lives and those of their loved ones. The reason decision making is so often affected by trauma to the brain is that there are a large number of processes involved in making a decision, so if any one of these are disrupted, it can cause issues with a person’s ability to make decisions.

For example, making a decision might involve accessing long-term memory to consider what you have done previously to deal with a similar situation, using your working memory to hold current information and think the relevant issues through, and making an emotional assessment over how the various options will make you feel.

Brain damage that affects the parts of the brain used for any of these processes can leave you struggling to make decisions, or unable to make appropriate decisions that are in your best interests.
Rehabilitation for decision making after a brain injury

There are various options for helping people improve their decision-making abilities after a brain injury. A professional such as an occupational therapist, or clinical therapist can guide you through exercises and strategies designed to help you understand the issues you are experiencing, allow you to solve problems, make and remember plans, and follow through on those plans.

One of the most common issues people recovering from a brain injury experience is impulsivity about decision-making. If can therefore be beneficial to develop a habit of stopping and thinking before making any decision, allowing you to avoid making a poor choice without properly considering the likely outcomes.

You may also use Goal Management Training to help you clearly establish what it is you are trying to achieve, then what actions you need to take to achieve that goal. By creating such a mental checklist of actions, it can help you make the right choices when working towards a goal.

External aids, such as diaries, notebooks and calendars can all be beneficial as well, helping you to remember when you need to do things, and giving your days structure, minimizing the number of potentially difficult decisions you need to make.

Making sure you can get the support you need

While much of the help and support you need to cope with a brain injury is available for free from the NHS, or by referral to private healthcare services, some types of support have to be paid for. To ensure you can get the assistance you need, you may want to consider pursuing a brain injury compensation claim. This can give you the funds you need to pay for any support you need that is not available via the NHS.  A brain injury solicitor will be able to advise you on whether you are likely to be able to make a successful claim, and help you pursue a claim so you can get the compensation you need to rebuild your life.

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