According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries [“TBI”] result in nearly 3 million emergency room visits each year. From experience, we know that hospitalizations are just one piece to the complex puzzle of a brain injury.
Emotional injuries following a TBI are, unfortunately, very common. One of the most devastating of these emotional injuries is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [“PTSD”]. PTSD is commonly linked to war veterans that upon return from service are not able to adjust back to non-combat life. Certainly, the traumatic events that veterans have seen is difficult to forget and can have lasting effects long after service, however, there is likely more to the story.
The connection between TBIs and PTSD was first studied around the time of World War I. Researchers were looking at the impact of traumatic stress (i.e. explosions) on the brain and resulting post-traumatic stress disorder. At that time, during the early stages of research, there was much debate about whether trauma to the brain was linked with PTSD. Now, over 100 years later, the research has evolved. The debate continues but there does appear to be strong evidence to support there is a connection.
According to recent research, among military personnel serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, rates of TBI are as high as 23%, with the majority of mild severity, and with high rates of PTSD comorbidity. This type of research is helpful in recognizing and understanding that PTSD is common in veterans with traumatic brain injuries, but it does not definitely provide a link between the two.
There is a large amount of active research focusing on the long-term outcomes following a traumatic brain injury and PTSD diagnoses, including the possibility that abnormalities to the brain may not be identifiable acutely, but may emerge with aging of the brain. This is like studies that find an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease following a traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy following repeated blows to the head.
When dealing with the effects of a traumatic brain injury, it is important to consider that there are many emotional consequences that result.
To discuss a potential case involving a traumatic brain injury, call Passen & Powell at 312-527-4500 for a free consultation with one of our experienced brain injury attorneys.