Veterans are not the only ones who suffer brain injuries but they are the ones most often affected with the traumatic after effects.
When we think of Veteran’s we commonly think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or old age related problems such as Alzheimer’s. Many of our currently returning veterans are suffering from something entirely different. It is called Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. Civilians can get this as well, especially in sports or automobile accidents. A TBI can occur when something hits your skull, but it can also occur when your body is moved forcefully enough that the brain ‘bounces’ against the inside of the skull. Think of a person being thrown from a car. They may not actually hit their head on anything, but the jarring effect of the sudden landing can cause damage. Children sometimes get this type of injury when shaken.
The results of this type of injury are very traumatic. The person may look fine on the outside, but be unable to think clearly or remember details for an extended period of time. For some it is like suddenly having Alzheimer’s. The good news is that they don’t typically continue to downward spiral like someone with Alzheimer’s. The brain can heal itself, but it is a long hard road, filled with frustration, anger and depression. These roadblocks occur for the family of the injured person as well as the victim. There are things we can do to speed up the process. It can go from a seeming standstill to the pace of a slow snail.