Agitation after traumatic brain injury: considerations and treatment options

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Oct;84(10):797-812. doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000179438.22235.08.


Posttraumatic agitation is a challenging problem for acute and rehabilitation staff, persons with traumatic brain injury, and their families. Specific variables for evaluation and care remain elusive. Clinical trials have not yielded a strong foundation for evidence-based practice in this arena. This review seeks to evaluate the present literature (with a focus on the decade 1995-2005) and employ previous clinical experience to deliver a review of the topic. We will discuss definitions, pathophysiology, evaluation techniques, and treatment regimens. A recommended approach to the evaluation and treatment of the person with posttraumatic agitation will be presented. The authors hope that this review will spur discussion and assist in facilitating clinical care paradigms and research programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prognosis
  • Psychomotor Agitation / etiology*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / physiopathology
  • Psychomotor Agitation / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents