OK, Doc . . . What Do I Really Have? Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Versus Traumatic Brain Injury

PaulHEducation, Hyperbaric, Military, Treatment

by Xavier A. Figueroa, PhD; James K. Wright, MD


PTSD1,2 and TBI3–5 have been part of medicine and war since recorded history. The major difference between preindustrial military campaigns and those that have occurred within the last 150 years has been one of scale and the increase in the survival of wounded Servicemembers.

Injuries that would have rendered Servicemembers unfit for duty only 100 years ago are now managed and can enable the injured Servicemember to return to full or restricted active duty. Yet, the injuries of the brain and of the mind are notoriously difficult to detect and to treat. The dividing line between a diagnosis of PTSD and a concussion or TBI is hair thin and dependent on the training and temperament of the diagnosing physician. Diagnosis determines the prescribed treatment regimen and if it is wrong, that regimen can do more harm to the individual.

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