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What is “flat affect”?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Personal Injury

Car accidents can be one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through, and the repercussions can last for life. In some instances, the injuries are so severe that the person cannot return to who they were before the accident. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one example of such injuries, and flat affect is a symptom of a TBI.

What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, happens when an external force strikes a person’s head. It is a common result in car accidents, but it can also happen in any other situation where an external force makes contact with someone’s head. The severity of the injury is determined by the force and the exact location of the impact.

What is flat affect?

Flat affect is a symptom of TBI and sometimes a lasting consequence in TBI cases. This symptom is characterized by a state of apparent emotional numbness in the person, who is apathetic, does not normally respond to situations that would typically elicit an emotional response, displays a reduction in facial expression, a monotone voice and a blunted appearance.

The part of the brain affected in flat affect is the frontal lobe, where a person’s normal emotional responses come from. When this area of the brain is hit or injured, it can damage that area and cause a flat affect.

The severity of flat affect

Flat affect can range in severity. Studies have shown that some individuals who have received therapy and medication can improve their symptoms. However, there is no cure; in many cases, people do not respond to treatment or medication.

A medical professional must examine the person with flat affect symptoms as soon as possible to determine whether this is the case and if it is part of a more significant problem in the brain.

Like all other symptoms of TBIs, flat affect can result in lifelong problems, including disability. It is a regrettable but common consequence of brain injuries. It is essential to be aware and evaluate if any of these symptoms are present in a person who has sustained a head injury.