Blast Injury, TBI, PTSD: What’s the difference?

Blast Injury, TBI, PTSD: What’s the difference?

Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.

Many veterans and service members exposed to blasts in Iraq or Afghanistan have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury or TBI and PTSD. This tip card helps survivors, families and caregivers understand why blasts cause so many injuries, how trauma damages the brain, and the symptoms of TBI and PTSD.

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Full Description

Explosions from rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and land mines have killed and wounded many individuals in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This tip card describes the four types of blast injury and why blasts can damage so many areas of the body.

Traumatic brain injury is often described as the signature wound of OEF and OIF. This tip card explains why the brain is so vulnerable to an injury and how the severity of an injury is determined. It describes the major symptoms of PTSD including reexperiencing, avoidance, numbing, and hyperarousal.

This tip card is a great tool to help service members, families, caregivers and relatives understand the similarities and differences between blast injuries, TBI and PTSD. Written in clear language, it helps educate everyone while also providing support for those living with these conditions every day.

Details
Item BITP
Pages 8
Year 2012

Authors

Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.

As President of Lash and Associates, Ms Lash has over 35 years of experience working with persons with disabilities and their families in medical, rehabilitation, educational and vocational settings. Her primary focus is supporting families and developing community programs along with user-friendly publications for families, educators, and clinicians. She speaks often and conducts workshops on the emotional trauma of families caring for wounded service members and veterans.

She is a former Chair of the Board for the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina and former Chair of the Brain Injury Advisory Council for North Carolina. She continues to share her insights as a keynote speaker at many brain injury conferences.

Contents

What is a Blast Injury?

  • Primary blast injury
  • Secondary blast injury
  • Tertiary blast injury>
  • Quaternary blast injury

What is a TBI?

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • What’s a concussion?

Moderate and Severe TBIs

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Reexperiencing
  • Avoidance
  • Numbing
  • Hyperarousal

Conclusion

Excerpts

What is a Blast Injury?

Explosions from rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and land mines have killed and wounded many individuals in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Service members, civilians and contractors have encountered blasts during combat, reconnaissance or patrols.

Powerful pressure waves follow the explosion. Because the ears, lungs, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract are filled with air, they can be easily damaged by a blast. The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by fluid and this makes them vulnerable to a blast. The violence of the blast can tear bodies apart causing amputations, internal injuries, broken bones, or burns.

A blast can create a trail of damage to everything around it – people, equipment, vehicles, and buildings. The size of the blast, a person’s distance from the blast, and the materials used to create the explosion – these all affect the severity of the injuries and the damage caused to the surrounding area. There are four types of blast injury and all can damage the central nervous system.

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