A new study suggests that the long-term effects of brain injuries, including concussions, are worse than previously thought. The research shows that getting a concussion may leave individuals twice as likely to develop PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Concussion Linked to PTSD in Vets

This study, which looked at vets who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, confirms what many medical researchers suspected for a long time-that traumatic brain injuries and the development of PTSD are connected. Scientists believe the brain injury affects the brain’s pathways for responding to a scary event. Whereas a normal brain may be able to process the event, an injured brain cannot accurately process the information.

PTSD symptoms can take multiple forms including nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks. These, and other debilitating symptoms, can continue for years after the incident. When the symptoms are severe it can be difficult for someone to hold down a job, interact with family members, and live a normal life.

While the study was specific to a military context, its findings can be applied to individuals who get concussions for other reasons. So, if you got a concussion from playing football, slipping on a ladder, or hitting your head on the steering wheel in an auto accident, you could be at risk for brain trauma and PTSD related to your injury.

What to Do After a Brain Injury

As this new research shows brain injuries are more traumatic than many people realize. If you or a loved one suffers a brain injury, promptly seek medical attention and keep a diary of your symptoms every day. If the injury is due to negligence on the part of another, you may have a valid legal claim. A personal injury lawyer can review your circumstances for legal merit.

If you decide to move forward with a case, you may secure damages. Funds from a successful lawsuit can provided you or your loved one with the care necessary to get well, along with resources that can help caregivers who are struggling to support a loved one in recovery from a traumatic brain injury.