Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that 2.8 million people in California and throughout America experience traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year. In some cases, they may experience symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings and a loss of empathy.

Empathy allows us to understand how others are feeling

Empathy is what allows you to understand how a person is feeling based partially on their facial expressions. You may also be exhibiting empathy toward others if their sadness makes you cry or their happiness fills you with a sense of pride. Finally, you may be exhibiting empathy toward others by asking what you can do to help them overcome a sad or otherwise negative situation.

A loss of empathy isn’t necessarily permanent

There is a chance that you will regain your ability to empathize. Your doctor may be able to help you learn more about how the brain changes after it is injured, and that information may help you learn new ways to recognize emotions in others. It may also make it easier to communicate to others how you are feeling in a given situation.

Why TBIs can strip a person of the ability to empathize

Research suggests that a TBI may damage the right supramarginal gyrus, the orbitofrontal cortex or both. These parts of the brain are what help you analyze a person’s emotions and react to them in an appropriate manner.

Anxiety, depression or an inability to recognize emotions may make it harder to work, go to school or maintain relationships with others. However, it may be possible to obtain compensation for lost wages or other damages incurred after experiencing a head injury. A personal injury attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation through a negotiated settlement or at trial.