Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles recently published findings from a study they performed providing evidence of a link between traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Traumatic Brain Injury
The most commonly known traumatic brain injury is a concussion. A TBI can be caused by such things as “heading” a soccer ball, hitting one’s head after a slip-and-fall or being in a car accident. A TBI may be mild or severe and will often have long-term effects on the injured person.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is an anxiety disorder – formerly known as “shell shock” – that can result from serious accidents or traumatic situations. The disorder can come up when someone witnesses or experiences a threatening incident that happened to him or herself or to someone close to them. Most people are familiar with the disorder because of the number of military veterans diagnosed with PTSD. However, the disorder can result from involvement in a serious car accident, getting mugged, witnessing mass destruction or living through a natural disaster.
The UCLA study shows that the brain, if injured, is set up to experience a higher level of fear when presented with a stressful situation. This means that when two similar people experience the same fear-inducing situation – such as a car accident – the one who had previously suffered a brain injury is much more likely to have an inappropriately high fear response. This response may lead to an anxiety disorder such as PTSD.
The link that the scientists found is an important piece of the puzzle that medical professionals have been trying to put together as they treat the thousands of people who suffer from PTSD each year. It is not known why some people develop anxiety disorders but this may help to provide some answers.
If you have been injured in an accident or were involved in a traumatic incident, you may be unknowingly suffering from an anxiety disorder. Your medical professional will work with you to help you with your recovery, but you may also be entitled to payment of your medical expenses, injuries and other losses. Consult with a lawyer who is experienced with traumatic brain injury cases.