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Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Cause PTSD?

Suffering a serious blow to the head from a car accident, blast, fall, or some other incident can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). For some, the memories from sustaining that injury can be extremely jarring, and may also trigger posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A traumatic brain injury is typically very traumatic, and the symptoms may sometimes overlap with those of PTSD, making it difficult to determine whether you are suffering from a TBI, or both a TBI and PTSD.

A traumatic brain injury may be caused by any type of injury to the head, whether direct or indirect and may vary in degrees of severity. For example, someone may suffer a slight TBI after experiencing whiplash in a minor car accident, while someone else who hits their head after a nearby explosion may suffer a much more serious TBI.

Someone with a TBI may experience symptoms of physical discomfort, mental problems, as well as emotional difficulties.

Symptoms of a TBI include:

  • Headache or dizziness
  • Abnormal exhaustion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vision problems
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Loss of memory
  • Trouble staying focused
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Exhibiting poor judgment
  • Depression
  • Unmanageable or unexpected bursts of anger
  • Anxiety
  • Drastic personality changes

Some of these symptoms are very similar to those of PTSD. Posttraumatic stress disorder, however, is not always triggered by an injury, like a TBI. While a traumatic brain injury is caused by a serious injury to the head, PTSD is a mental health problem that can be caused by a life-threatening event, car accident, combat, natural disaster, or sexual assault. For this reason, it is very possible that the same event that resulted in a traumatic brain injury would also cause PTSD.

Those suffering from PTSD will exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Reliving the event, usually through flashbacks, bad memories, or nightmares
  • Avoiding situations that remind the afflicted person of the traumatic event
  • Negative feelings, including paranoia, anxiety, anger, distrust, loss of interest, or numbness
  • Feeling hyper-aware, especially of any potential threats, resulting in trouble sleeping, uneasiness, sudden anger, or reckless behavior

A few key symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and anger issues, are common indicators of both a traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. For this reason, a person with a TBI may also be suffering PTSD without knowing it. In situations where both TBI and PTSD are present, it is very likely that the trauma from one singular incident caused both issues.

In the event that you or a loved one exhibits any symptoms of a TBI or PTSD, it is important that you see a doctor for assistance immediately. There are countless resources for those who suffer either affliction, especially for veterans, who are more at risk.

Doctors typically prescribe relaxation and bed rest, intended to let the mind and body heal without any added stress or pressure. Therapy may also help those suffering PTSD to accept the traumatic experience and move past it, and can also be instrumental in helping afflicted individuals talk to their families. It is crucial that close family members be aware that their loved one suffers PTSD because they can contribute to the person’s healing and will better be able to understand any outbursts or strange behaviors.

If you or someone you know has recently experienced a traumatic event due to the negligence or mistake of another person and has since suffered either a TBI or PTSD, you may have a case. Contact Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco to speak to our personal injury lawyers today.

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