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Personality Change


Reprinted with Permission, Dr. Paul Harch, M.D.

During the course of therapy, there may be some unpredictable neurological effects. In many brain injuries a part of the brain may be damaged in such a way that upon therapy it may demonstrate a different rate and extent of healing than other parts of the brain. In turn, these differences in rate of healing may bring about imbalances in the brainís delicate system of checks and balances, For example, those brain injured patients who have mood swings and changes in temperament, such as temper tantrums and crying, between eight and 25 treatments as they proceed through a healing phase toward return to their pre-Injury temperament and personality. Stopping therapy at this point may have unpredictable and potentially serious consequences. At the same time Patients with irritability, impatience, and mood swings, resulting from their brain injury have experienced a calming effect in the same range of treatments as they returned to their pre-injury state. Some individuals report a decrease in temper tantrums and inappropriate outburst.

Please be aware that the vast majority of patients that are treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy throughout the world are people with diabetes who at the same time may have other ailments such as Heart, Kidney, brain, vascular and metabolic disease. Complications associated with HBOT are exceedingly rare. In approximately one quarter of the brain injured patients, however, there is another effect that has been noticed in New Orleans and other HBOT free standing centers, namely a change in emotional state usually occurring during the first two to four weeks of treatment. Patients, who, after their injury, became very quiet, can have tantrums, loss of emotional control, and wide mood swings of mood, indicating a change in brain function. In all likely hood this change, (personality change) represents an improvement in nerve cell function brought about by an oxygen-induced increase in blood flow with its improvement of local oxygen delivery and removal of metabolic waste products. It has been observed that this emotional change is temporary and improves with further treatments in the next few weeks. Based on our experience, we strongly recommend against discontinuing treatment during this period.

In contrast to the above stated mentioned quiet patients, it has been observed that those patients who, after injury, became more uninhibited and aggressive tended to regain control. This change tended to be more of a permanent effect, which persisted beyond the discontinuation of HBOT.

Printed with Permission