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Overlap Exists Between PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Over the past several years, much media attention has been devoted to post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs) and the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Laypeople see these conditions as distinct, and even medical practitioners associate TBI symptoms with physical harm and PTSDs with mental health problems. However, these serious afflictions share many symptoms and affected veterans might benefit from a closer examination of the link between the two.

In locations around the world, military personnel frequently suffer concussive head impacts while enduring periods of intense stress and life-threatening danger. A study estimates that 35 percent of veterans with a mild brain injury have also experienced PTSD, a far higher rate than what is seen in civilians with similar head injuries. It can be difficult to draw a line between the two conditions because of their similar symptoms, including:

  • Self-destructiveness — Depression is a very common psychiatric diagnosis following a TBI and the identification of a PTSD. Though civilians with TBIs don’t show a high incidence of suicide, a blow to the head combined with the difficult circumstances faced by service members can lead to self-destructive behavior.
  • Sleep problems — Brain injuries have been associated with several types of sleep problems, which hinder the recovery process. Veterans and others with PTSDs often have horrifying nightmares and difficulty falling asleep because they feel compelled to remain hyper-vigilant.
  • Substance abuse — TBI and PTSD victims sometimes turn to alcohol or illegal drugs to escape the physical, mental and emotional problems they face. This can be dangerous as these substances often amplify the symptoms of these conditions.

Identifying a possible connection between TBIs and PTSD could be essential in securing appropriate benefits for service members still dealing with the effects of their deployment. If you’re seeking relief for yourself or a loved one, you can obtain valuable advice from a lawyer who knows how to handle TBI and PTSD claims.

Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban advocates for veterans of the armed forces who are pursuing benefits related to TBIs, PTSD and other conditions linked to military service. To schedule a free consultation, please call 866-866-VETS or contact us online. We assist veterans nationwide.

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