Every individual with a traumatic brain injury is different.
They can present with a variety of different symptoms,
and the challenge often is that those symptoms--there's no symptom
[Joel Scholten, MD, Washington DC VA Medical Center] that's completely specific
for a brain injury; so it may be due to a mental health issue,
it may be a pain issue that's kind of driving that symptom.
The real key then in the rehabilitative process
is to look at the individual and see how those symptoms are
affecting their functioning, and then--
then you can try to help work with the veteran
to develop a treatment plan that's going to--
that's going to take into account their
individualized needs and what they really would like to focus on,
and how it affects their function.
So for instance if its really, really a cognitive issue or a memory issue
that they're the most concerned about
then we'll try to kind of focus our efforts on that,
and that may include a short course of speech therapy--
to see the speech therapist for cognitive therapy.
It may be, when talking with the individual,
they may not be able to concentrate because
they may also have post traumatic stress,
and they're hyper-vigilant and not able to, you know,
focus their attention because they're too worried about what's, you know,
what's happening outside the room or what was that noise outside the door.
So it really is very, very individualized
as far as how to kind of develop that treatment plan.
Some of the treatments though are the same.
You know if it--and it doesn't really depend so much on the actual diagnosis.
So if it's an attention issue, we can work on cognitive--
some cognitive therapy to focus on improving attention.
We can provide techniques as well as you know technology.
So some of the techniques may be, you know, using a post-it note
to remind an individual to--of an appointment,
or it may include using a smart phone to schedule your appointments
to remember how to--
what you need to do during the day or during the week.
So it really is very individualized.
It's also important to talk to the individual and see,
of all their symptoms, what might--where you might get the
biggest bang for your buck in regards to treatment.
So for instance sleep issues are very common,
and certainly if you can help to improve sleep
then you're likely going to improve memory and concentration,
likely to improve, you know, overall pain or at least tolerance of pain,
and overall function and mood certainly.
So that will impact not only the individual but their functioning
and how they interact with their family.
Show transcript | Print transcript
Helping improve function and mood for patients post-TBI involves getting the whole picture of a person, his symptoms, and how they are affecting his life.
See more of Dr. Sholten's videos here.
Produced by Ashley Gilleland and Victoria Tilney McDonough, BrainLine.
Joel Scholten, MD is associate chief of staff for Rehab Services at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center. He also works in VA Central Office within the PM&R Program Office as the national director of Special Projects.
The contents of BrainLine Military (the “Web Site”), such as text, graphics, images, information obtained from the Web Site’s licensors and/or consultants, and other material contained on the Web Site (collectively, the “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for medical, legal, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The Web Site does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Web Site. Reliance on any information provided by the Web Site or by employees, volunteers or contractors or others associated with the Web Site and/or other visitors to the Web Site is solely at your own risk.