Injury to the brain disrupts normal thinking and processing of information. Self-awareness, ability to make sense of our circumstances and environment are radically altered making the patient susceptible to becoming overwhelmed by stimulation. This disruption prevents the brain-injured individual from being able to act appropriately, control self-behaviors, and cope with the current situation.
Agitated behavior represents a neurologically driven reaction to discomfort and is reactive/defensive in nature. While this behavior is distressing to family and staff, it is important to not personalize or blame the behavior. Most agitated behavior is not violent or aggressive, though at times, agitation plus fear may lead to verbal and/or physical aggression.
When agitated behavior occurs, it is crucial for staff to be there to assist the brain-injured individual in re-establishing behavior to ensure: Continuous safety for patient, staff, family and others; and Regaining a sense of comfort and security to the patient.