Agitation is a symptom that frequently complicates the care of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Agitated patients are predisposed to negative functional outcomes and increased risk for themselves, their families, and their caregivers. Optimal management of posttraumatic agitation is an important aspect of rehabilitation in this patient population.
TBI management and treatment can also be complicated by the presence of pseudobulbar affect (PBA). The incidence of PBA is considered to be widely under-recognized due to the limited awareness of this condition and frequent confusion with other neuropsychiatric conditions, including post-traumatic agitation.
Treatment of agitated patients includes environmental adaptation, thoughtful medication decisions, and frequent reassessment for continuing or worsening symptoms.