Coming to Terms With Neurotrauma

  • Maria Medved
  • Jens Brockmeier


Impaired mental functioning after neurotrauma can lead to several forms of psychological distress. If psychological adjustment to mental impairments is problematic, individuals are at-risk for what Goldstein (1940) called a "catastrophic reaction." A catastrophic reaction is a state of extreme confusion mingled with anxiety, fear, and anger. In recovering from neurological trauma, individuals often become increasingly aware of their precariously changed state of mind, moreover they experience their inability to comprehend their "new selves." This process may lead to a catastrophic reaction.


Goldstein, K. (1940). Human Nature in the Light of Psychopathology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gazzangia, M. S. (1998). The Mind’s Past. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Prigantano, G. P. (1999). Principles of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.