PTSD and TBI

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that occurs when people experience a shocking, scary, traumatic, or dangerous event. According to NIH (2018), it is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. These responses will continue after the event, which usually is diagnosed as PTSD. Some signs and symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts, and avoidance. Many people with PTSD have reactionary symptoms of being easily startled, feeling tense, difficulty sleeping, and angry outbursts. Additional symptoms may include memory issues of the event, negative thoughts, guilt, blame, and loss of interest. Many of these problems lead to panic disorder, depression, substance abuse, and feeling suicidal. There is help for people experiencing issues with PTSD. According to NIH (2018), the main treatments for people with PTSD are medications, psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), or both. Everyone is different, and PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. It is essential for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health provider experienced with PTSD.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex physical head injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. TBI occurs due to a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Brain injury often occurs during some type of trauma, such as an accident, blast, or a fall. Usually, when people refer to TBI, they are mistakenly talking about the symptoms that occur following a TBI. TBI is the injury, not the symptoms. According to the VA (2018), TBI is the same as a concussion. TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. These classifications tell you the nature of the injury itself. They do not tell you what symptoms you may have or how severe the symptoms will be. Symptoms that result from a TBI are known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Physical Symptoms include; headaches, feeling dizzy, being tired, trouble sleeping, vision problems, and feeling bothered by noise and light. Cognitive (Mental) Symptoms include; memory problems, difficulty staying focused, poor judgment, acting without thinking, being slowed down, and trouble putting thoughts into words. Emotional (Feelings) Symptoms include; depression, anger outbursts and quick to anger, anxiety (fear, worry, or feeling nervous), and personality changes. As far as treatment for TBI, time is usually the best medicine for treating TBI. If symptoms last for a prolonged period of time, you need to seek a medical professional for further help. An interesting fact that the VA (2018) published is that The Department of Defense and the Defense and Veteran's Brain Injury Center estimate that 22% of all OEF/OIF combat wounds are brain injuries. This is compared to TBI in 12% of combat wounds that occurred in Vietnam.


References:


National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) (2018). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml


Traumatic Brain Injury.com (2018). Understanding TBI. Retrieved from http://www.traumaticbraininjury.com/understanding-tbi/


U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (2018). Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD. Retrieved from

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/problems/traumatic_brain_injury_and_ptsd.asp


Image provided by Gonzalez, I. (2018). BioMed SA Recognizes PTSD Researcher fro Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience. Retrieved from https://www.startupssanantonio.com/biomed-sa-recognizes-ptsd-researcher-for-innovation-in-healthcare-and-bioscience/

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