It should be, and here's why: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a neurological disorder. Treatment is sometimes complicated because the symptoms for PTSD and a TBI can be similar. For example, patients who suffer from PTSD or a TBI may share symptoms of irritability and fatigue. But despite the overlap in symptoms, the medical treatment for them should be different.

Treating a traumatic brain injury and how it's different from PTSDTreatment for a TBI

If a veteran experiences a mild TBI, he's likely to recover without any type of medical treatment. However, for more severe TBIs, some medication may be prescribed, and treatment usually involves rehabilitation to help the patient improve functioning.

Because a TBI can impact walking, talking, and thinking, a doctor may prescribe the following types of rehab:

  • Physical therapy (PT). In general, PT helps patients reclaim their ability to move, talk, and function, enabling them to enjoy favorite activities and live normal lives. Treatment usually involves exercise, hot/cold therapy, manual therapy, and education for the patient. The goal is to increase a patient’s strength, coordination, and stamina.
  • Language and speech therapy. When a veteran suffers a TBI, he may experience problems with communication and cognition. It may be challenging for him to articulate the point he wants to make, organize thoughts, or understand new information. It’s also possible that a veteran may find it difficult to chew or swallow. Speech therapy helps a patient to express and understand language.​
  • Occupational Therapy. This therapy helps patients regain skills to reach their goals and perform normal, daily activities. Whether someone has cognitive disabilities or is recovering from an injury, an occupational therapist works to treat the whole person so he can engage fully in day-to-day life.

Treatment for PTSD

When veterans return home from combat zones where they faced the mental and emotional challenges of war, including life-changing and traumatic events, they can suffer from or later develop PTSD. This recognized medical condition presents symptoms that interfere with a veteran’s ability to live a healthy, productive, and rewarding life. There are numerous treatment methods for military personnel who experience symptoms of PTSD, including:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy. Many individuals who experienced a traumatic event during war return home to feel they live in a dangerous world. Cognitive processing therapy starts by having a person write an “impact statement” and share it with other veterans to discuss what it’s like to live as if they’re still a prisoner of combat. This begins to help the veteran stop seeing the world as an unsafe place.
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy. This therapy encourages an individual to gradually address the traumatic or life-altering incident and talk about the memories out loud.
  • Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy. This type of therapy practices relaxation, and also has an individual recall details, re-frame his thoughts about the traumatic event, write a letter about the event, and then conduct a goodbye ceremony to leave the event in the past.

We Can Help With Your TBI or PTSD Claim

The experienced veterans disability attorneys at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices all military personnel make to protect this country. We understand that many veterans return home suffering from a medical condition, including PTSD or a TBI, or may develop symptoms later. If your medical condition is interfering with your ability to live a normal, healthy life, we can help you obtain the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your loved ones. It’s possible that you qualify for compensation from the VA.

If you need help with your disability claim, contact Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Contact us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska