Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Given that motor vehicle collisions can be a very traumatic experience, post-traumatic stress disorder will often be present in a person who has been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) may occur immediately following the collision or it may have a delayed onset. Furthermore, the motor vehicle accident may trigger the emergence of symptoms related to an earlier traumatic experience that the injured person had previously suppressed.
Diagnosing PTSD in a person who has been involved in a collision will be further complicated if the person has also sustained a brain injury. Many symptoms of PTSD are similar to those of a brain injury, including irritability, fatigue, concentration difficulty, cognitive problems and sleep disturbances. To further complicate matters, these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other disorders, such as depression, which is commonly experienced by victims of motor vehicle collisions.
Studies have suggested that the development of PTSD is generally more common in those who have sustained mild traumatic brain injuries compared to those who have sustained a more severe traumatic brain injury. This is arguably because those with a mild traumatic brain injury will generally have memories of the collision whereas a person who has sustained a severe brain injury will likely have experienced an extended period of unconsciousness and have no memory of the accident.
The relationship between PTSD and brain injuries is very complicated and the presence of both may not be easily recognized. However, they frequently co-exist. If you are suffering from PTSD and/or a brain injury it is important to seek out appropriate medical and psychological assistance.
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