Treating Veterans with TBI & PTSD
Between 2000 and 2020, more than 430,000 US Service Members have experienced first lifetime Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), not including service members who incur subsequent TBI’s(1). TBI’s are classified as mild, moderate, severe, or penetrating. They can occur from a sudden blow or jolt to the head from an impact, blast exposure, and even whiplash. Studies suggest that service members and veterans who have sustained a TBI may still have ongoing symptoms of post-concussive syndrome that go untreated. TBI of any severity can cause symptoms across multiple functional domains, including physical, cognitive, and psychological.
In addition, among veterans with positive TBI screens, 80% indicate comorbid psychiatric diagnosis and up to half meet criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)(2). From the Vietnam war to Operation Enduring Freedom, Veterans suffering from PTSD has increased from 15% to 20%. PTSD is a complex psychiatric condition that develops in certain individuals after experiencing a major traumatic event(14). Behavioral symptoms of PTSD include re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance behavior, mood alternation, and hyperarousal(15).
The negative impact that such symptoms and risks can make on one’s quality of life makes it clear that veterans with PTSD and TBI’s require safe, effective treatment options. Unfortunately, less than half of patients receiving traditional psychosocial treatments gain clinically meaningful improvements, and many continue to have residual symptoms(22-23). Thankfully, there is compelling evidence to suggest that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) may significantly reduce the negative symptoms experienced by TBI patients and PTSD patients, even years after the incident.