Many traumatic brain injury survivors suffer not only from the effects of the brain injury but also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Therefore, the trauma that causes the TBI also causes PTSD.
Early on it was believed that trauma causing traumatic brain injury could not also cause post-traumatic stress disorder as it was believed that the types of amnesia that the traumatic brain injury can cause would preclude suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Studies now show that post-traumatic stress disorder can develop following mild traumatic brain injury and also following severe traumatic brain injury.
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sensory problems such as blurred vision, ringing in ears, sensitivity to light or sound
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
- Repeated memories of the life-threatening event
- Flashbacks and reliving the event
- Avoidance of people or places that are reminders of the event
- Detachment from people
- Shame about what happened
- Survivor guilt
Symptoms and differences:
- TBI - Interruption in memory of what went on just before or just after the injury; problems with memory thereafter including problems with concentration and cognitive difficulties
- PTSD - Being plagued and haunted by unwanted memories of what happened, causing the victim to relive the injury including having nightmares about it.
- TBI - Sleep disorders are common after TBI including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and interrupting normal sleep patterns.
- PTSD - Terrible nightmares and flashbacks while sleeping causing the victim to wake up.
- TBI - Due to the injury, loss of friends and co-workers leading to social isolation.
- PTSD - Isolation is self imposed by the victim as it is too difficult to interact with people.
- TBI - Emotional lability, mood swings
- PTSD - Emotional numbness and emotional shutdown
- TBI - Continuing fatigue due to the TBI
- PTSD - The symptoms of PTSD make it difficult to get a full night sleep resulting in fatigue, feeling wrung out, temper shortened, frustration.
- Depression and Anxiety
- TBI - Depression and anxiety can result from TBI.
- PTSD - Depression can result from PTSD however anxiety is much more severe and can cause feelings of extreme panic and stress.
- TBI - Damage to the frontal lobes of the brain can cause volatile behavior.
- PTSD - Physical aggression is increased with PTSD.