“I Didn’t Even Know Anything Had Happened!”

Sometimes soldiers may be wounded and not even know they’ve been hurt.  You might ask how that could be, but the effects of a traumatic brain injury may not become evident until a day or two has passed. 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be caused by being too close to an explosive device when it detonates.  Following the explosion, a pressure wave expands outward, and if the soldier is in its path, it may cause a concussion and disrupt brain function.   Traumatic brain injury may also be the result of being hit by shrapnel.

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confused or disorientation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headache, sometimes becoming severe
  • Chronic pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty in social situations
  • Social isolation
  • Verbal or physical outbursts
  • Irritability

TREATMENT —  Many of the symptoms of TBI are similar to PTSD, and so are many of the treatments.

  • Support groups provide emotional support and teach new coping strategies
  • Keep records of important events, people’s names, tasks or other things that are difficult to remember.
  • Develop a routine and stick to it.   Put things back in the same place to keep from losing them and stick to the same schedule to reduce confusion.
  • Pace yourself and know your limits.  Don’t ask too much of yourself, especially at first.  Know your limits and learn to pace yourself so you don’t become overly tired.

Resources:

Mayoclinic.com/health/traumatic-brain-injury

Maketheconnection.net/events/injury

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1

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