By Debbie Gregory.
Saving our soldiers is of the utmost importance. War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, along with their families, say military commanders, policy-makers, health care providers, and communities need to take further steps to help make their transition into the civilian community seamless. That way, they say, the country can better deal with the results, including substance abuse, homelessness, rising divorce rates, and the mental anguish that can lead to suicide.
Brainwave research has led to new insights into psychiatric disorders, and help guide future development of new anti-psychotic drugs. This new research can greatly benefit returning veterans with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and depression. Military veterans often suffer with depression and other mental health issues. Up until now, drugs have been the go-to solution for treating various mental issues, mostly on a trial and error basis.
PTSD and TBI coexist because brain injuries are often sustained in traumatic experiences.
So often people talk about the effects of traumatic brain injury or the consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder as separate conditions — which they are. PTSD and TBI coexist because brain injuries are often sustained in traumatic experiences. But for the person who is living with the dual diagnosis of TBI and PTSD, it can be hard to separate them.
PTSD is a mental disorder, but the associated stress can cause physical damage. TBI is a neurological disorder caused by trauma to the brain. It can cause a wide range of impairments and changes in physical abilities, thinking and learning, vision, hearing, smell, taste, social skills, behaviors, and communication. The brain is so complex, the possible effects of a traumatic injury are extensive and different for each person.
When PTSD and TBI coexist, it’s often difficult to sort out what’s going on. Changes in cognition, such as memory and concentration, are common with both diagnoses. One basically feeds and reinforces the other, so it’s a complicated mix —the perfect storm. It may help to consider and compare changes commonly seen with TBI and PTSD.
Doctors using the PEER Interactive database to help predict which medications their patients will respond to have reported their success rates have improved two to threefold.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community began a clinical trial using PEER Interactive. During the clinical trial military physicians will treat 2,000 volunteer patients with a primary diagnosis of depression.