The twin maladies of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have been very much in the news thanks to stories of servicemembers suffering from them thanks to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, According to Stars and Stripes, a new study examining PTSD following a traumatic brain injury seems to suggest that the two maladies are linked.
The study, sponsored by the Department for Veterans Affairs and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, found that one’s chances of contracting PTSD doubles if one is subjected to a traumatic brain injury. This finding, which confirms a number of other studies, has obvious relevance to the civilian world, where people can and do suffer TBIs as the result of automobile and other accidents.
There are a number of reasons why a traumatic brain injury can result in PTSD. The violence that accompanies the TBI, whether it is the detonation of an improvised explosive device or a car crash, can be psychologically traumatic. There are also changes in brain structure and function that accompany a traumatic event that makes the victim more susceptible to contracting PTSD.
The long term consequences of having both a traumatic brain injury and PTSD are obvious. The long period of rehabilitation and the possible long term disability that results from a TBI can be challenging enough for someone with a determined outlook. But if one is also suffering from PTSD, with the accompanying feelings of fear and depression and thoughts of suicide, then the challenge can be overwhelming. These are things that both health care providers and attorneys who are charged with getting the victims their due compensation should be aware of.