Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Some injuries are only in your head. Literally.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can occur when you’ve suffered an impact to the head. The severe form, often caused by a bullet or shrapnel wound, can lead to a coma. Far more common are the mild and moderate forms of TBI, often brought on by close proximity to an explosion such as a mortar attack or roadside bomb.
Memory, mood and concentration problems are common symptoms. Headaches, weakness in a limb, problems sleeping, vertigo and loss of balance are also possible signs. Some TBI symptoms may not be very noticeable at first. In fact, there may not be any sign of a problem until months after you’ve returned.
Because of advances in medical care, more servicemen than ever are surviving their wounds, but returning from combat with traumatic brain injuries. Between 10 and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan vets have suffered a TBI.
Though invisible and sometimes seemingly minor, brain injury is complex. It can cause a range of problems lasting a short period or permanently.
There is treatment though. Most often, it’s a matter of practicing – through therapy – skills such as memorization and focus.
What are the symptoms of TBI?
Some symptoms of traumatic brain injury, like loss of consciousness, seizures, and loss of coordination can show up immediately, while the following symptoms may not be noticeable for weeks or months.
- Changes in personality
- Weakness in extremities
- Sleep disturbances
- Poor impulse control
- Anger or violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
Learn more about TBI from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
If you think you are suffering from TBI, get help as soon as possible.
- Contact the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
- Contact your health care professional
- Find your nearest VA hospital by calling 877-222-VETS
- Call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 for confidential information
- Call the VFW or American Legion for soldier support services
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