Decision Making and Problem Solving

Making decisions and solving problems take a lot of thinking. Both can be challenging for people with a TBI. Simple decision making and problem solving are easier than more complicated decision making and problem solving.

What might you see?

  • Taking a long time to make a decision
  • Making inappropriate and/or potentially harmful decisions
  • Difficulty with reasoning
  • Responding quickly without first thinking about consequences (this is known as impulsivity)
  • Having a difficult time recognizing problems
  • Slow to think of alternate solutions to problems
  • Tendency to be "concrete" when solving problems or making decisions
  • Taking things literally

How can you help?

  • Avoid having the service member or veteran make decisions when tired, hungry, or under stress.
  • Help the service member or veteran to weigh options and consequences of a decision. List the pros and cons of a decision before making a definitive choice.
  • Give the service member or veteran time to make a decision. Be patient and talk them through possible options.
  • Limit the number of possible choices to two or three whenever possible. Too many choices are often overwhelming and can increase indecisiveness, as well as stress and frustration.
  • Avoid making last-minute decisions on an issue or topic.