Many of the men and women serving in the military experience traumatic brain injuries. While some are diagnosed immediately, others can suffer a TBI and have no awareness of its existence until unexplained behaviors begin to reveal themselves, impacting their daily lives, ability to work, and relationships with others.
Causes of TBIs
A traumatic brain injury can occur when a person’s head is moved forcefully and quickly. This can happen in an auto accident, because of a fall, or as the result of a nearby explosion, all circumstances that active-duty service members can easily experience. Much of the talk in the news involving head injuries and concussions focuses on athletes. But veterans who come home from service endure hard hits too, and their risk for developing head injuries are just as real.
According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), young men between the ages of 18 to 24 are at the greatest risk for a TBI. The routine operational and training activities in the military are physically demanding and, at times, can be dangerous. Many service members are deployed to areas where they are at greater risk of exposure to blasts from land mines, explosive devices, suicide bombers, grenades, and mortar rounds. All of these elements increase the risk of suffering a TBI.
Effects of a TBI
Because some TBIs can be mild, the symptoms may be difficult to diagnose at first. Anyone who has experienced a loss of consciousness, even momentarily, should be evaluated for a brain injury. Severe head injuries are easier to pinpoint, since they often begin with longer periods of unconsciousness and memory loss.
Whatever the severity of the head injury, the side effects that may eventually develop for a veteran can include the inability to control emotions, think clearly, or even walk or speak clearly. Sometimes, the senses are affected so that the person experiences dizziness, balance issues, changes in taste and smell, trouble hearing, sensitivity to noises, blurry eyesight, or sensitivity to light. Depression, anxiety, mood swings, and quick frustration or aggression are not uncommon in severe brain injury cases. Headaches, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness are typical TBI side effects as well.
Properly Diagnosing a TBI
Since the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can easily mimic emotional or behavioral problems, diagnosis is not always on-point. Every TBI-sufferer experiences their own unique set of symptoms related to their head injury. Some will suffer immediately, for other people it will take time for symptoms to appear.
For all TBIs, rest and decreased activity level are essential to recovering from a TBI. Some veterans will recover completely from their TBI, others will have to learn how to manage their symptoms and learn how to live with the side effects of their head injury.
If you know a veteran who suffered TBI, they can apply for treatment on the Warrior Angels’ website. If their injury was caused by an auto accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.