Traumatic Brain Injury And PTSD Often Go Hand In Hand

Have you, or someone you love, experienced a traumatic brain injury? A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain is harmed by blunt force trauma, such as from a fall or car accident, or by an object penetrating it. TBIs can be mild, moderate or severe and can cause minor to extensive impairment. If you have a TBI, you may experience changes in the way you see, hear, smell, touch or taste as well as changes in behavior, physical abilities and mood.

If you’ve experienced a TBI from an accident or violent event, you may also have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can strike anyone who’s had a life-threating trauma; you can even have PTSD after a concussion. An event like an assault, a car crash or an emergency where you were afraid for your life or well-being — or afraid for someone you love — can trigger PTSD.

 

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Symptoms of TBI and PTSD

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a mild TBI or concussion can cause symptoms including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Brief loss of consciousness (from several seconds to minutes)
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Trouble with memory, concentration or thinking

A more serious TBI can produce:

  • Confusion, restlessness or agitation
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Persistent or worsening headaches
  • Repeated vomiting/nausea
  • Slurred speech

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Experiencing repeated memories and/or flashbacks of the event
  • Avoiding people, places or things that may remind you of the event
  • Feeling emotionally numb and detached from people, even those close to you
  • Feeling ashamed or guilty about what happened to you
  • Feeling anxious or worried about possible threats, even when no danger is present

If you have a TBI or PTSD, you’re more likely to suffer from depression and sleep problems and you’re at higher risk of substance abuse and physical injuries. Having both TBI and PTSD, such as when you have PTSD from a concussion, increases your risk of all of these conditions. The severity of your symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the injury and what part of the brain was affected.

When You Have TBI and PTSD

Treatment for TBI depends on the severity of the injury but may include:

  • Rest, especially with minor TBIs
  • Emergency treatment to stabilize and protect the brain, which may include surgery in more severe cases
  • Medications, including anticonvulsants, blood thinners and anti-depressants
  • Rehabilitation therapy, if necessary, to help restore lost function

Treatment for PTSD may include:

  • Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

When PTSD and brain damage occur together, your health care team may use a combination of medication, therapy and rehabilitation to treat your symptoms. If you have PTSD and a brain injury, you should plan on working closely with your health care team to create a treatment plan to help you heal and recover from these conditions. Be open about your symptoms and their impact on you and don’t be afraid to ask family members and friends for extra support when you need it.

Have you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury that was the fault of someone else? Consider talking to an attorney who specializes in these kinds of injuries. Contact Nolan Law Group to learn more about how we may be able to help you.