Combat-related injuries are frequently complex, where more than one system or part of the body or mind can be affected. Both physical and psychological injuries may be present.
Physical injuries can be visible injuries such as amputations or burns. Or they can be invisible injuries—injuries to the brain and the way it processes information, communication, and even emotions.
Combat injuries may also include psychological injuries, such as post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Veterans may experience one or two obvious primary symptoms, such as chronic pain or sleep disruption. These symptoms may in turn be layered on top of other conditions. Treating the most obvious symptoms is a good place to start. Improvements in sleep or pain can open the way to identifying and treating other conditions, such as depression or brain injury.
After a brain injury, you may experience changes in your thinking. For example, you may have memory problems or trouble concentrating. You may find that routine tasks, such as paying bills or getting to appointments on time, become more difficult for you. This can affect your family and may be frustrating to you.
You may also experience changes in your emotions. For example, you may notice that you have mood swings, anxiety, or depression. You may feel an urge to get away from your family and friends, closing yourself off from them.
You may notice changes in your communication with other people, having difficulty remembering words or making yourself understood.
Finally, you might have changes in your body, such as balance problems, bad headaches that don’t go away, difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time.
Some of these symptoms might also be indicators of other conditions, such as PTSD. Since a brain injury can complicate the symptoms of other conditions, it is always best to make sure that your TBI is being treated along with the other conditions you may have.
It’s important to realize that you are not alone in your journey with brain injury. Your injury affects your family as well. They need you to seek help in coping with the symptoms you’re experiencing. Check the links on this screen to find military, VA, and community resources that can help you.