TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY & PTSD

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF) have resulted in increased numbers of Veterans who have Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI. The main causes of TBI in OEF/OIF Veterans are blasts, motor vehicle accidents, and gunshot wounds. Symptoms are likely to last only for a limited time. With proper treatment and healthy behaviors, they are likely to improve.

Many veterans with a TBI also develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Assessment is necessary because:
• People with TBI should not use some medications.
• No matter how mild or severe the injury itself was, the effects could be serious.
Diagnosing a TBI is hard because there may not be visible signs of injury; and because many symptoms of a TBI mimic those of PTSD.

The length of time that a person is unconscious following the injury is one way of measuring how severe the TBI is. If the injury caused loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes, the TBI was most likely minor or mild. If the loss of consciousness was for over 30 minutes but less than six hours, it is most likely a moderate injury.
SYMPTOMS
• Headache
• Feeling dizzy
• Being tired
• Trouble sleeping
• Vision problems
• Feeling bothered by noise and light
• Memory problems
• Trouble staying focused
• Poor judgment and acting without thinking
• Being slowed down
• Trouble putting thoughts into words
• Depression
• Anger outbursts and quick to anger
• Anxiety
• Personality changes
These symptoms are part of the healing process, and will improve as time passes.

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