PTSD after a TBI is quite common | Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury LawyerThe physical damage to your body is only one element of how a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may impact your life. It isn’t uncommon for the incident when you suffered the injury to become a focal point of ongoing emotional and cognitive issues. Vehicle collisions, acts of violence, or even accidents at work may also cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

It’s important for TBI patients to understand how brain injury and PTSD symptoms can potentially interact. Discussing these issues with your doctor and attorney can help you discover rehabilitation methods, as well as seek legal justice by holding the negligent party responsible for your pain and suffering. 

The Relationship Between PTSD and TBI Symptoms

Traumatic brain injuries often lead to a range of emotional problems also associated with PTSD, which means you may experience overlapping symptoms. If you’ve suffered a head injury from a serious accident, your PTSD may manifest through: 

  • Anxiety, shame, guilt, and other negative emotions 
  • Constant feelings of anger
  • Depression and detachment from positive emotions and close relationships
  • Frequent “flight or fight” response even in normal situations 
  • Irritability 
  • Isolation from friends and family members who don’t understand the trauma you’ve experienced 
  • Recalling the event that caused the TBI even when you don’t want to think about it
  • Taking extreme measures to avoid any trigger that reminds you of the injury

The main differences between post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury symptoms involve how emotional issues are expressed. Someone who suffered a TBI may have unexpected outbursts that aren’t appropriate to the situation for instance, while PTSD symptoms frequently go the other direction and lead to shutting down emotionally. 

Memory is another way in which the two issues diverge. TBI victims may suffer temporary or long-term amnesia surrounding the incident, making it difficult to recall the specifics of the injury itself. On the other side, PTSD typically involves constant memories and thoughts about the accident that won’t go away.

PTSD can also interact dangerously with symptoms of the TBI.  A victim may experience communication difficulties after suffering a brain injury, such as problems remembering specific words or concepts. That can exacerbate PTSD symptoms like irritability and depression. 

Treatments for PTSD Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Surgeries, therapy, and medication can alleviate the severity of brain injury symptoms or help prevent them from worsening, but it’s important to note that pharmacological treatments may not always be viable for treating PTSD. Depending on the type and severity of your TBI, some medications may interact negatively and make symptoms from the brain injury worse. That’s why it is important to see a doctor as quickly as possible. 

Consulting with a physician immediately after your accident doesn’t just establish a paper trail on the extent of your injuries, but also helps determine if prescription drug options are appropriate for your situation. You may also need to receive referrals to other healthcare professionals who can provide the means to deal with symptoms during your daily routine. PTSD treatment after a TBI may involve:

  • Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Neuropsychologist visits
  • Coping mechanisms like meditation and other stress-reducers

The good news is that you aren’t alone. Support groups for individuals suffering from PTSD and severe TBI symptoms are available, and you can retain a lawyer to assist in the monetary side of your recovery. A skilled personal injury attorney with experience in brain injury cases can help ensure your PTSD is taken into account when recovering damages. 

Kevin W. Mottley
Connect with me
Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims