PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as defined by the Mayo Clinic “is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” PTSD is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a diagnosable mental health condition and is listed under the new category called Trauma- and Stressor- Related Disorders. PTSD can occur when an individual has experienced severe stress or anxiety after being exposed to a traumatic event. Every individual who suffers from PTSD will have his or her own set of unique symptoms. The most widespread symptoms associated with PTSD include any combination of the following examples:

  • Flashbacks to the event
  • Nightmares
  • Severe anxiety
  • Angry outbursts
  • Sleeplessness
  • Aggression

The symptoms of PTSD can be incredibly distressing. An individual that has PTSD is often left feeling powerless and out of control. Studies have found that individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) typically meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Although rare, it is important to note that not all individuals with TBI will inevitably go on to develop PTSD.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury occurs because of sudden damage to the brain. The American Association of Neurological Surgery explains that TBI “is a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” Sustaining a TBI could lead to a plethora of adverse physiological symptoms as it can affect one’s physical, neurological, and/ or emotional functioning. According to the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, “the events leading to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often psychologically traumatic (e.g., motor vehicle accidents) or occur within a broader context of psychological trauma, such as military combat or recurrent interpersonal violence.” When PTSD and TBI coexist, it can be difficult to properly assign presenting symptoms to its respective diagnosis, as changes in cognition (e.g., memory and concentration, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, etc.) are common with both diagnoses. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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