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The Connection Between PTSD and TBI

March 24, 2017

A Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can often cause a multitude of different symptoms, including physical, cognitive, and emotional repercussions. Often these symptoms are short-lived as the brain works to heal and recover from the damage. However, in other cases, people who sustain a TBI can sometimes develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The problem occurs when people can’t distinguish symptoms of TBI from symptoms of PTSD. Many of the symptoms of a TBI overlap with common reactions after trauma. For example, soldiers in combat can often get a TBI from an explosion, which also causes them PTSD. Patients with TBI often meet the criteria for PTSD on screening instruments to determine brain trauma and vice versa. Veterans also have experience TBIin addition to PTSD related to their combat experience. Symptoms of both conditions can include the following:

  • Memory problems
  • Poor judgement
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling bothered by noise and light
  • Depression
  • Anger outbursts
  • Short temper
  • Anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Trouble staying focused
  • Being tired

It’s important to determine which condition the person suffers from because individuals with TBI should not take certain medications and could experience long-term injury without prompt medical treatment. Because TBI doesn’t always require breaking the skin or the skull, closed head injuries can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, particularly when paired with the symptoms of PTSD.

Research into the conditions have shown education for the patient and family early in the recovery process can improve outcomes in patients with TBI and help prevent the development of psychological disorders such as PTSD. However, many patients and their families do not receive any education early in the course of the illness and may require later intervention.

While treatment isn’t always needed for TBI, in cases where it cannot be distinguished from PTSD, treatment should be both symptom-focused and evidence based. Patients benefit from treatments that work well for both conditions, such as cognitive processing therapy or prolonged exposure. For more information about both conditions, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website on Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms that could be related to either condition, talk to an experienced medical professional about potential treatments for both. If the condition was caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person, talk to one of our experienced Denver personal injury lawyers today. Jordan Law is proud to represent the victims of trauma in their pursuit of justice. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients, and our attorneys are well-respected in their field. We also take the time necessary to answer your questions and concerns as the case progresses. Our lawyers work hard to give each case the nuanced advocacy it requires because we understand no two cases are the same. We are also extremely selective about our cases; our attorneys never take too many clients at one time, so we can give each case the full attention it needs. Our firm is also available to the people we help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Let us see what our highly rated attorneys can do for you in a free case review. Contact us at (303) 465-8733 or fill out our online form today.

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