TBI in Disguise

Dear Caregivers,

Has your spouse being diagnosed with TBI? If so, does your spouse suffers from PTSD? How do you know what is what? This could hold the clue and key to treatment and will determine the healing process. Is TBI treatable? the answer is YES, Is PTSD treatable? the answer is YES, is the treatment the same? Most of the time NO. Why? Because some impairments are due to the brain capacity to perfomed optimally.

My husband has brain injury as the result of an explosion and Iraq. Often providers attribute all the symptoms in soldiers to PTSD when in fact they can be the result of the TBI and yes TBI and PTSD ARE NOT THE SAME. PTSD and TBI share some characteristics but ARE NOT the same. Don't be shy and ask questions to providers, this is your right as a patient or a spouse or family caring for a TBI patient. So the big question is "Why are we treating TBI as PTSD?" The answer can be described with a very sophisticated financial calculation. My husband is getting neuro rehabilitation treatment and a pre and post neuropsychological test demosntrated that he had gains because of therapy. We are witnesses that therapy works.

I am not a medical doctor so I will not state or say things that required that degree but I am a clinical researcher and looked at the scientific literature extensively. If your loved one has TBI help them to get the care they need, it will be worthwhile the effort. Learn about TBI and PTSD and you will see you may be able to recognize and differentiate between both.

For example,

Auditory Processing Disorder:
My husband could not stand noises and was very difficult to udnerstand. This could be easily attributed to PTSD, but it is in fact "Auditory processing Disorder (APD)" APD involves deficits in the neurobiological activity underlying perceptual (i.e., neural) processing of auditory stimuli ((http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2009/091124/CAPD.htm)

Visual Midline Shift Syndrome (VMSS):

He has balance issues and concentration issues and the optometrist found that he has "Visual Midline Shift Syndrome" which means that the ambient visual process changes its orientation with regard to the midline of vision (http://www.minnesotavisiontherapy.com/visual_shift_syndrome.aspx)

Testosterone Deficiency or Hypogonadism
Low testosterone, or testosterone deficiency (TD), may result from disease or damage to the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or testicles that inhibits hormone secretion and testosterone production. (http://www.urologychannel.com/)

These examples are some of the symptoms and secondary conditions as the result of TBI. Technology is advanced and for each of these conditions fortunately there are devices available to correct the problem. For the VMSS my husband was given special eye glasses with prism technology and the prescription is designed to correct the position of the objects. For the APD my husband was given a hearing aid specialized to filter noises so this will help with the way he processes all the information. The testosterone levels increase with medication so his strenght incremented by 40 lbs withing 3 weeks and his mood changed significantly.

I am writing this posting because I want all the caregivers to look dipper into new technology for their loved ones and do not attribute all the conditions and symptoms just to PTSD. There are ways to compensate for some impairments and fortunately these devices are available to the military at no cost. I am not sure VA has these types of things but ask and seek more information.

Hope this helps in some way.



  1. Thanks. I will tell my friend about the hearing aid and glasses. She wears ear plugs whenever she is in a group or somethng like that. And her vision is all wacky too. If you wear any clothing that is busy, she has a very hard time of it. Great information. I am going to cut and paste to share. Have a great day!XXOXX

  2. My husband has both TBI and PSTD from a horrible car accident we were in 2 years ago. It has been very tough. He was in a coma initially and has been gradually getting better. He had to relearn everything (and is sill learning).

    You are right, some of the meds treat both. But it is hard to know which is trauma and which is TBI. Of course the TBI can make the PSTD worse or more difficult to control. My hubby has a great psychiatrist that has helped a lot.

  3. Great information. I totally agree with the sentiment here. Any person, if able, or their care giver has to do their own research and educate themselves and ask questions. Do not just blindly accept what the "experts" say if it does not ring true!


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