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TBIs and PTSD: the perfect storm

Posted in Brain Injury,Our Blog on July 20, 2018

At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC, in Louisiana, we help people who have sustained serious injuries as the result of someone’s negligence or misconduct. Sometimes our clients suffer from several injuries, which makes life especially difficult for them. If you suffer from both a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, you know exactly what we mean.

As explains, a TBI and PTSD are two separate conditions. A TBI is a neurologic condition resulting from a trauma to your brain. PTSD, on the other hand, is a mental disorder resulting from the aftereffects of your experiencing a life-threatening trauma. But while these two are separate, many of the symptoms they produce overlap each other. Often you, your family members and your medical team cannot tell which of your symptoms come from which condition. In other words, TBI and PTSD feed on and reinforce each other. Consequently, each condition can and does affect the following:

  • Your memory
  • Your sleep patterns
  • Your emotions, particularly anger
  • Your depression and anxiety
  • Any substance abuse problem(s) you may develop

While both a TBI and PTSD can affect all of the above and more, they usually affect them in different ways, either slightly or considerably.

Memory example

In terms of your memory, a TBI often results in your inability to remember what happened just before or just after your accident. The more severe your TBI, the longer your amnesia likely will last. PTSD, on the other hand, often causes you to explicitly remember everything that happened, whether you want to or not. These flashbacks can haunt your thoughts and even your sleep.

Sleep example

Both a TBI and PTSD can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and remain asleep. The hypervigilance associated with PTSD interferes with the ability of both your mind and your body to slow down in preparation for sleep. In addition, since you know that there is always a good possibility that you could have a nightmare, you actually may dread going to sleep.

Anger example

You generally have less control over your emotions when you suffer from either a TBI or PTSD. You become irritated easily, especially when overworked, overly stressed or overly frustrated. Your irritation can quickly escalate into vicious argumentativeness or even outright violence that puts your family members at risk for being the “handy” victims of your volatile moods.

For more information, please visit this page on our website.