The brain is a complex and vulnerable organ. As you can see, there is nothing mild about an injury to the brain. But by becoming more knowledgeable about mild brain injury, you can become an informed consumer of health services, effective health care provider, supportive family member, caring friend or colleague. It can happen to anyone.
Post traumatic stress (PTS) was formerly called post traumatic stess disorder (PTSD). It is often seen in service members and veterans exposed to blast injuries but can also occur in civilians hurt in car crashes, natural disasters and other life threatening events. These blogs on traumatic stress provide information on the signs and symptoms of PTSD, treatment options, and support for individuals, families and caregivers.
Waiting and watching are the two words most often used by family members to describe what this time was like for them. The stress, worry and anxiety may feel overwhelming at times. It may be hard to concentrate or do even the simplest things. This period of coma is among the most difficult for family members because of its seriousness and uncertainty.
Developed to help veterans and their families recognize and understand the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), this 50 minute documentary produced by Korean and Vietnam veterans Norm Seider, Carl Ohlson, and John Drinkard features the voices of veterans who have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans describe the impact of the invisible wounds of post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and the effects on them and their families. Chronicling destructive cycles of depression, self medication, alcohol, and addiction, veterans and clinicians examine the search for a “new normal” after the devastation of war.
No matter how or where you served as a veteran, no matter how long ago or recently you came home… this documentary is for you, your family and those who care about you.
Family caregivers face multiple emotional and physical demands. This article shares the experiences of two families who faced these challenges from the TBI suffered by their veteran spouse. Hearts of Valor is one organization providing support for family caregivers dealing with the effects of TBI and PTSD in wounded veterans.
The VA estimates more than 300,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Shad Meshad explores why “homelessness is the last stop on this PTSD/TBI train ride, not the first.” Since the symptoms of PTSD and TBI are similar and often overlap, PTSD can be the initial incorrect or incomplete diagnosis where TBI is present. Both these conditions can manifest as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, aggression, and increasing social isolation. But TBI can also include memory loss, migraines, seizures, problems with language, and trouble making what might seem like simple decisions. Vets with brain injury need different treatment.
The combined effects of TBI and PTSD are like a game of dominoes. Unlike the simple matching of dots on rectangles, it’s the cascade of symptoms affecting cognition, anxiety, depression, alcohol use, and memory that are like the chain of dominoes crashing into disorder. Using the example of sleep disorders due to TBI and PTSD, Marilyn Lash describes how it’s not as simple as a bad night’s sleep but is rather a complex interplay of TBI and PTSD that affects not only the wounded veteran but the family as well.
Meditation helped Bill Roper, a veteran of Vietnam, deal with a serious brain injury and PTSD. Using the power of his mind, he learned how to turn a catastrophic injury and experience into a journey of healing and self discovery. His perspective and experience may be helpful to veterans now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The wars are different from Vietnam but the effects on wounded warriors have much in common. Today, Roper believes that his “catastrophic experience had allowed me to discover this awesome power within me.” He stresses that this same power is available to everyone. “It’s really the power of all creation.”
Ambiguous loss can not be seen but it is real and felt by combat veterans, their families and caregivers who struggle with the invisible wounds of war. The story of a World War 2 veteran Louis Zamperini illustrates how even the most strong willed and courageous combat veteran found another war at home with chronic PTSD that almost destroyed him. How much has changed with our returning veterans today?
For so many returning service members and veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the question may be, “Are your emotions ready for intimacy?” Sex and intimacy are very different. While sex is a physical act, intimacy is an emotional connection. loss of intimacy. Tt is the elephant in the room that too often is not discussed with family, friends, physicians, or counselors. When the connection between loss of intimacy and PTSD is not understood, too many partners “take it personally” and feel unloved, unworthy, unattractive, and rejected. Whether the demands for sex are constant or sex is avoided for long periods, loss of intimacy can undermine the very core of a couple’s relationship.
Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are separate conditions but many of their symptoms overlap. It can be hard for the person who is living with the dual diagnosis of TBI and PTSD and for family and caregivers to separate them. Just as meteorologists predict “the perfect storm” when unusual and unprecedented conditions move in to create catastrophic atmospheric events, so can the combination of PTSD and TBI be overpowering and destructive for all in its path. The person with TBI and PTSD is living in a state unlike anything previously experienced. For the family, home may no longer the safe haven but an unfamiliar front with unpredictable and sometimes frightening currents and events. This article describes similarities and differences with PTSD and TBI.