PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury - The Essentials

Coping with the physical and emotional changes resulting from post-traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury can be challenging not only for the person with the diagnosis, but also for family members and caregivers. While Military OneSource does not provide health care services, it can connect service members and their families with the appropriate resources for those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.

Here are four things you should know about post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Recognizing combat stress and stress symptoms.

Combat stress, also known as battle fatigue, is a common response to the mental and emotional strain when confronted with dangerous and traumatic situations. Key symptoms include irritability, headaches, depression, loss of appetite, problems sleeping and changes in personality or behavior.

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Dealing with combat stress.

Like an overused muscle, the brain of someone with combat stress needs to heal from too much exposure to trauma and stress. Recovery strategies include practicing relaxation techniques, getting adequate rest and working with a counselor to identify thoughts and behaviors that contribute to stress. 

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Distinguishing combat stress from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Combat stress is often confused with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, which can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like war, assault or disaster. While many of the symptoms are similar, combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder are different. Learn how to distinguish the two from each other.

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Recovering from traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries vary from patient to patient, but can involve, dizziness, memory problems difficulty focusing, or seizures. The recovery process takes time. By educating yourself and your family members about the diagnosis and following the tips provided by Military OneSource, you may be able to aide your recovery.

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Get Support for Healthy Living

If you or someone you know is suffering from combat stress, post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury, it is important to get professional help as soon as possible. The Department of Veterans Affairs has readjustment counseling for combat veterans and their families, including those still on active duty at community-based Vet Centers. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury is available 24/7 to provide information and local resources to service members. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, then press 1, or access online chat by texting 838255.