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Minimizing the Challenges of Going to a Restaurant After a Brain Injury

Minimizing the Challenges of Going to a Restaurant After a Brain Injury

Comments [6]

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Hey, guys! It's Adam. Believe it or not, going to restaurants is actually very challenging. For a lot of folks with traumatic brain injury and PTSD, the overall environment can be overwhelming. I know it is for me personally. When I go to a restaurant, everything from looking at the menu, having everybody talk around you, scanning the restaurant, seeing who's there, who's walking behind you, where you're going to sit-- just taking in the whole environment can be really difficult. So for me personally, some of the things that I've done to minimize that impact are-- specifically at a restaurant on the menu part-- is just ordering the same thing. I've gotten into the habit now over the last 5 years or so of whenever I go to a restaurant, rather than taking 15 minutes to look over the 50 or 100 items that are being offered on the menu, I already know what I want. I just pick literally the same thing; I get a bacon cheeseburger everywhere I go. What that does is it saves me the time from having to scan the menu trying to remember and comprehend what's on the menu while people are talking with me. When everybody sits down, nobody wants to just be silent and read the menu. The other guests aren't going to be silent and just read the menu. The other booths aren't going to be silent and read the menu. So to kind of mitigate that--and really it's avoiding it-- I just get the same thing every time. I always go, "Hey, what do you want?"--"Bacon cheeseburger." The secret is finding something that's on every restaurant. Anyway, I hope that's helpful for you. Try it out! Maybe yours is a steak, or maybe yours is a turkey sandwich. I don't know, but you'll find something that works for you. Thanks.

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Adam Anicich talks about why going to a restaurant post-TBI is often far from relaxing and what to do to make the experience better.

Adam profile thumbnail

Hi, I’m Adam Anicich

I’m a former Army Sergeant, a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, a service-disabled vet, and someone with a brain injury. I’m here to share my story with you — along with some practical tips — and I hope that I can help you in your own journey of recovery.

Learn more about Adam >


Comments [6]


Oct 3rd, 2014 10:34pm

I look at the menu online and pick what I want. Also sit facing the wall for fewer distractions. I try to ask people to choose restaurants that don't have loud music, or I wear ear plugs.

Oct 3rd, 2014 7:02pm

More tips....go when the restaurant opens, or at off peak times. It will be quieter and there will be less people which will help with over stimulation. Pick restaurants that have carpet or soft good in the decor to help mitigate sound. Don't go to restaurants where the floor, walls, and ceiling are all cement & metal or all hard surfaces.  The sound is horrific and taxes the brain quickly. Take the time to find the quietest place to sit. Sit facing the direction with the least visual stimuli. You may also want to look at the menu online ahead of time so that you know what you want. Sometimes I'll sit in the restaurant to eat my appetizer, and then take my entree to go. I hope some of these help!!

Oct 2nd, 2014 10:46pm

Restaurants are unbelievably difficult. Other ideas that have helped me are going at off hours, sitting with my back to the room to minimize the visual stimuli, wearing earplugs or noise canceling head phones-- you can usually hear people at you table but less of the background noise.

Oct 2nd, 2014 3:05pm

I look up the restaurants menu online before I go. That way, I know what I'm having before I get there. Same idea, just a little variety.

Oct 2nd, 2014 1:48pm

Lots of places have their menu on line. So I read it at home with plenty of time and quiet. 

Oct 2nd, 2014 12:49pm


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