Risk-taking behavior is — in my opinion — one of the most misunderstood factors after a concussion / TBI. A lot of people I know (who are therapists) think of it as self-destructive, based on past experiences of victimization or trauma. That may be true for some, but for others, it’s a matter of actually wanting to feel “normal” again — feel alive, feel like your “old self” again. I think a lot more discussion is warranted on this topic, because misunderstandings can lead directly to additional concussions and TBIs.
Risk-taking or danger-seeking behavior, especially in teenagers or at-risk individuals, has intrigued, worried, and frustrated scientists and mental health professionals for aeons — perhaps as long as humans have walked the earth, and there were friends, family and/or hunting party members to be concerned about the welfare of “crazy bastards” who took more risks than most.
In the past, actions like walking up to a mastodon and launching your spear at it point-blank, scaling the face of El Capitan without ropes, or putting every penny you own on the line for a long-shot bet or a chancy investment, were equated with a sort of “death wish” or the desire to do self-injury. Such behavior was (for good reason) considered illogical, even pathological. That professional view has changed, but some residue of it remains, culturally speaking.
I’ve also heard risk-taking behavior explained as a form of self-sabotage or a kind…
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