Traumatic Brain Injuries Increase Risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

William W. Hurst – Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer

Studies on U.S. troops show concussions increase the likeliness of PTSD. Most of you are probably wondering why this is relevant to car accidents. Well, PTSD isn’t only connected to troops coming back from hostile environments, it can also be seen in others who have experienced a traumatizing situation such as a car accident. We regularly have clients who are either afraid to get in a vehicle altogether or afraid to drive. Insurance companies often scoff at these types of claims because there is no real physical proof that the claim is real, but with studies like the two discussed here Insurance companies will be forced to recognize the validity of such claim.

The Two Studies

The first study showed traumatic brain injuries “doubled or nearly doubled the PTSD rates . . .” meaning soldiers who suffered or had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) such as a concussion were twice as likely to suffer from PTSD. More specifically, those who suffered a TBI while deployed were the most likely to suffer from PTSD, which means there’s a possibility that suffering a TBI increases your risk of PTSD from incidents close in time to the TBI more so than in general.

The second study sought to figure out why the correlation between TBIs and PTSD existed. In the study rats were exposed to “fear conditioning techniques” two days after suffering a TBI. The study showed that the TBI rats developed a much greater sense of fear than the control rats (those without TBIs). To further understand the root of the correlation the scientists studied the amygdala, a small piece of brain tissue responsible for fear learning.

What they learned is that “there were significantly more receptors for excitatory neurotransmitters that promote learning. ‘This suggests that brain injury leaves the amygdala in a more excitable state that readies it for acquiring potent fear’.” Because of this the rats who had suffered a TBI were vastly more susceptible to becoming fearful of whatever they were exposed to.

The scientists who conducted this study stated the why behind this happening needs to be further studied, but it’s my opinion that this is one of the brain’s many defense mechanisms. It becomes injured so it puts your body on high alert.
While it is true this study was performed on rats, “these findings also suggest that people who suffer even a mild traumatic brain injury are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, and that proper management of stress after such an injury could be critically important to maintaining ones’ mental health.”

Conclusion

Suffering a TBI severely increase risk of PTSD and the effects must be taken seriously whether it be in soldiers coming back from protecting our country or your next door neighbor who was just t-boned driving to work. PTSD isn’t some made up complaint that only the “mentally weak” experience. It’s your brains way of responding to a traumatic injury, likely to protect you from further harm.

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