Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Published September 8, 2019
The human brain is a complex organ that scientists and doctors still do not fully understand. Experts are getting closer to understanding the way the brain works, though. As science progresses, more is known than ever before about the damage a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can have on a person.
For veterans with brain injuries, daily activities can become a challenge. Tasks at work may be virtually impossible for victims of TBI, which is why some veterans with brain injuries choose to pursue a disability claim with the VA. Considered an invisible disability, those with TBI do not outwardly appear injured to the general public. Unfortunately, this often means veterans with TBI struggle to receive the help they need because, to the outside world, they appear to be just fine.
Types of TBI
Brain injuries can range from mild to severe. Concussions are some of the most common kinds of TBI and can be caused by even the most minor bumps to the head. Severe brain injuries, on the other hand, stem from serious incidents in which the head is penetrated by bullets or shrapnel or is crushed by a blow to the skull. Closed skull injuries in which injuries are not immediately obvious can be deceptively dangerous and just as severe as those involving penetrating wounds.
The severity of a brain injury depends largely upon the length of time that the person was unconscious during the accident. In the moments directly after being wounded, the way the victim responds to commands and questions is often indicative of the seriousness. Their length of memory loss can also be a good indicator of the severity of the injury.
TBI and PTSD
Many veterans with TBI are also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of the most common disorders among veterans who have seen combat, PTSD occurs when a person experiences highly stressful, traumatic events. The event’s impact can linger in a person’s mind for years afterward, causing agitation, depression, social isolation, and self-destructive behaviors.
For many veterans, TBI and PTSD go hand in hand. A blow to the head in combat can trigger both TBI and PTSD symptoms, many of which overlap. Brain Injury Journey Magazine says that up to 35 percent of veterans with mild brain injuries also have PTSD. Though PTSD is a psychological disorder and TBI is a neurological one, the combination of the two can make life increasingly difficult for veterans.
Thankfully, there are resources available for those affected by PTSD and TBI. Veterans looking for guidance on filing a VA disability claim for PTSD should consider speaking to Veterans Law Group for insight into the claims process. Get help with your VA PTSD and TBI claims today by contacting VLG.
Challenges of a Dual Diagnosis
Veterans diagnosed with both PTSD and TBI face a unique struggle. The combined effect of the disorders can result in destructive and often terrifying symptoms. A person’s memory can be jeopardized by TBI, but their PTSD can also plague them with intrusive thoughts of their most traumatic moments. Veterans with both TBI and PTSD may struggle to fall asleep or be frequently awakened by nightmares.
Regulating emotions becomes difficult for people with dual diagnoses of TBI and PTSD. If the area of the brain that controls emotions is damaged, the person can experience dramatic mood swings and emotional numbness. These conflicting emotional states can be challenging to understand and live with for their loved ones.
Depression is perhaps the most common diagnosis for people with TBI. It is incredibly pervasive among veterans who endured traumatic incidents, too. Though highly treatable with medication and therapy, many choose not to seek help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Anxiety, anger, and suicidal thoughts can also develop in people with both PTSD and TBI.
Help for Veterans with TBI
If you need help receiving a correct percentage for a denied or low-rated VA disability claim for PTSD, TBI, or both, Veterans Law Group can help. Consider reaching out to an experienced veterans disability benefits lawyer before you start the appeal process. Just a brief consultation can give you the edge you need to get the compensation you deserve.