Veterans Brain Injuries & PTSD
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
We have seen some of the injuries sustained by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but the supposed “signature” injuries from those conflicts are Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The Mayo Clinic states that TBI occurs “when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction,” usually from a violent blow or jolt or an object penetrating the skull. Mild TBI can cause temporary brain dysfunction while more serious TBI can cause long-term complications or death.
The National Mental Health Institute states that PTSD is a “flight-or-fight” response that is changed or damaged by an ordeal that physically harms or threatens physical harm to oneself or another. The PTSD sufferer may feel stressed or frightened even when there is no danger.
Tens of thousands of military veterans have reportedly returned to the U. S. with TBI or PTSD or both without ever being diagnosed. As a result, veterans may suffer physical or mental difficulties at home, socially and/or in the workplace without knowing the reason(s). Some self-medicate with drugs/alcohol, worsening their problems. Others give up the struggle and according to brain injury specialists, the longer we fail to act, the more veterans’ lives are lost to suicide.
Military and Veterans Affairs specialists are attempting to dispel myths about TBI and PTSD as they reach out to as many affected veterans as possible. Veterans seeking reasons for their possible TBI or PTSD can seek testing at The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Brain Health, which maintains a web site accessed here: http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/home/ and specialty care services can be accessed from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs here:
http://www.medicalsurgical.va.gov/ If specialty care services cannot directly help, they can refer to another service group that can help.
Some myths that the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas is specifically trying to dispel are that mild TBI and PTSD: are debilitating for life; cannot be treated; and are signs of mental weakness. The numbers of brave men and women who have sustained TBI/PTSD and have been successfully treated are encouraging. Even in cases of severe TBI/PTSD, the Center for BrainHealth believes that the plasticity of the brain can be used to improve a veteran’s functioning from serious impairment back to normal movement and speech. At this point, these experts claim that they do not know the limits of rehabilitation.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DON’T suffer in silence.
DO seek testing for TBI OR PTSD at The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Brain Health, which maintains a web site accessed here: http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/home/
DO seek specialty care services from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs here:
DO ask for a referral to a service group that can help you if specialty care services cannot directly help.
DO understand that mild TBI and PTSD are not signs of mental weakness, debilitating for life or untreatable.
DO understand that even severe TBI and PTSD are treatable and that some experts claim the limits of rehabilitation are unknown.
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW DOS AND DON'TS