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Changes in sexuality after brain injury in adolescents and adults can affect behaviors, intimacy, sexual functioning, and inhibitions. These changes in behaviors can be embarrassing, alienating, and confusing for individuals, families, caregivers, friends and peers. These blog articles on sex and sexuality discuss this topic from various perspectives.

Adolescence, Brain Injury, and Sexuality

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The transition from childhood to adolescence is fraught with many physical and emotional changes. It can be a difficult time for the child and parents alike. Most families experience a period of major adjustment to the child’s changing mannerisms, quest for privacy and greater independence. When a child experiences a brain injury, either at a younger age or during this period of transition, it commonly creates many more problems than a child arriving at this age without a brain injury.

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Sexuality after Brain Injury

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One of the common consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is sexual dysfunction. Unfortunately addressing sexual issues as a component of rehabilitation is often overlooked for a variety of reasons.

“Sexuality is an integral part of the human experience” (Sander). We are all sexual beings and sexuality is part of our life experience. Social mores and cultural differences make sexuality a taboo issue in some societies. Many therapists and other direct care providers in hospital and rehabilitation settings are untrained about sexuality and persons with disabilities. Their personal values often interfere with their ability or comfort level discussing the topic. When sexuality is overlooked as part of rehabilitation, sexual dysfunction can become an issue that is very difficult for families to understand. Social isolation, common for persons after TBI, limits opportunities for developing meaningful relationships.

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Traumatic Brain Injury and Pituitary Hormones

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Pituitary hormone deficiency may result from traumatic brain injury, head trauma or subarachnoid hemorrhage (stroke). Symptoms of hormone deficiency can mimic other effects of traumatic brain injury and delay diagnosis. Physical and psychological effects of hormone deficiency are described.

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