Latest News 2017 November The Difference Between Crankiness & Trauma

The Difference Between Crankiness & Trauma

If your loved one has recently been a little irritable during your nursing home visits, that might be a normal sign of feeling tired or cranky. However, it's important to understand how irritability can also be a sign of trauma—specifically when it is coupled with anxiety, fear, or emotional withdrawal.

Trauma within the walls of a nursing home is tied to abuse or neglect, so it's vital that you understand the signs and symptoms.

Moodiness + Sudden Emotional Outbursts

On its own, being moody or angry can be indistinguishable from trauma-induced mood swings. However, trauma often manifests as moodiness combined with emotional outbursts. Think in terms of rhythm—is your loved one always a certain way? Or do they quickly shift form withdrawal to raging back to quiet sullenness?

The sudden shifts in mood and behavior are a symptom of emotional overload. Trauma is quite literally an overwhelming experience for our brains. Suffering abuse causes damage that triggers our deepest survival instincts while inviting secrecy and shame. The pressure of keeping our shame to ourselves (for our safety or for our dignity) creates an emotional maelstrom that shifts from one extreme to the next.

Irritability + Fear

Everyone gets a little cranky. Being tired, feeling restless, or chronic pain eats away at our ability to be polite or courteous sometimes. However, irritability can also result from anxiety—one of the most common symptoms of trauma. When we're feeling anxious, our minds become exhausted from the strain of "keeping it together," and one of the first things we lose is our general sense of well-being.

However, irritability combined with fear or the inability to concentrate is a red flag. Fear is a sign that your loved one is potentially suffering abuse or has witnessed it happen to someone else, another common cause of trauma.

Unfortunately, some people manifest their anxiety solely as irritability. The difficulty for you is understanding the signs of anxiety as they appear in your loved one. If your loved one has never been anxious before, it might be worth investigating further—or taking them away from the nursing home to talk. Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A.

General Tips for Remaining Vigilant

In general, take note of the changes in your loved one's outlook or behavior. Don't take anything for granted—don't chalk anything up to "that's just them." if they're exhibiting the signs of abuse or trauma in any way, it may be time to consult with a lawyer or ask a local authority about the nursing home's record of abuse.

Neglectful nursing homes also have physical signs—look for a lack of staff, dirty floors, or serious odors. Make an unannounced visit sometime in the next week to see how the facility behaves when you're not looking. As you investigate, make sure your loved one's health remains steady. Suddenly declining health for no discernible reason is a sign of severe and deliberate abuse, and you'll need to act quickly to save their life.

Find a nursing home abuse attorney on our site today to help protect your loved ones.

Categories: Elder Abuse