Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a particularly challenging form of anxiety and is common in veterans.
Symptoms of PTSD overlap with those of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and can include headache, dizziness, irritability, memory impairment, slowed reaction time, fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to light and noise, impulsivity, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation.
More than 400,000 military personnel and veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI since 2001 and many more have not been diagnosed because they have not sought treatment. More than 40 percent of homeless individuals are veterans suffering from either TBI, PTSD, or both. Civilians also experience PTSD and more than 7.7 million Americans reportedly suffer from PTSD.
Veterans and others with TBI and/or PTSD struggle to find effective treatments. PTSD and/or TBI are believed to be major contributing factors for the approximately 22 veterans who commit suicide every day in the United States.
A recent report published in JAMA showed that the traditional treatments of PTSD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or prolonged exposure therapy are largely ineffective. Moreover, a study by Steenkamp and colleagues found that only one-third of patients have clinically significant improvement in their symptoms.
Soldiers who experience a blast-related TBI are at greater than double the risk for developing PTSD. While the mechanism of injury is quite different, victims of head injury in motor vehicle accidents also have a higher rate of PTSD compared to those who sustain other injuries.
A recent study in Veterans Administration facilities revealed 73 percent of patients reporting TBI were comorbid for PTSD (Taylor et al. 2012), while 13.5 percent of military personnel from recent conflicts reported PTSD (Dursa et al. 2014).
The Veterans Administration recently concluded there was a lack of diagnostic accuracy for veterans with both TBI and PTSD (CBO 2012). In 2015, a research team including Dr. Henderson discovered that SPECT neuroimaging can accurately distinguish TBI from PTSD. This allows us to make a definitive diagnosis for veterans and civilians with TBI, PSTD, or both.
Currently, available treatments for PTSD and TBI are different. Moreover, the treatments for PTSD may be harmful or, at best, not helpful in the case of TBI. Without viewing the brain, symptoms may tell a confusing or inaccurate picture, leading to an incorrect diagnosis. A wrong or incomplete diagnosis often leads to ineffective treatment
At Neuro-Luminance Brain Health Centers, we use innovative brain health solutions, including neuroimaging, to clear up confusion between PTSD and TBI. Imaging combined with labs, patient history, and symptom information allows for a more complete picture, a smarter treatment plan, and, ultimately, hope and healing