According to researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (UMRC), there is a strong connection between brain injuries suffered by soldiers during combat and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
After studying about 50 veterans - by getting information about their military service and reviewing MRIs of their brain - researchers found that former service members who suffered even a mild brain injury had a strong likelihood of suffering from PTSD. Scientists say the study, which was published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, will help doctors to better care for veterans and active duty soldiers because the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and PTSD can often overlap.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious anxiety condition that occurs when someone experiences a traumatic event, like being the victim of a crime or being involved in a car accident or natural disaster. Those who suffer from PTSD can experience a number of physical, emotional and mental side effects, including:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Trouble concentrating
PTSD is treatable through therapy, support groups or medication.
Veterans and PTSD
The link between soldiers and PTSD is nothing new; in fact, the condition was first observed in veterans, although further research was needed before the connection was made. Since 1983, doctors have worked to understand how combat affects soldiers psychologically and have observed the extent to which veterans have suffered from PTSD. Most recently, studies have indicated that 12.5 percent of veterans who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have suffered from the condition.
Although in the past, PTSD was somewhat stigmatized - was given names such as "combat fatigue", "shell shock" and "war neurosis" - and the military is working to change that negative perception. The military encourages veterans suffering from the condition to get the treatment they need and to seek the disability benefits to which they may be entitled.
Help for Veterans With PTSD
Veterans suffering from PTSD are generally eligible for disability benefits, which can be claimed by filling out an application with the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you believe you are suffering from a disability due to your service in the military, contact a lawyer experienced with veterans' disability claims to find out if you are eligible for benefits.