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What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Service Members and Veterans with Mild TBI and PTSD?

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Service Members and Veterans with Mild TBI and PTSD?


What are the most common symptoms of service members and veterans with mild TBI and PTSD?

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[Dr. Kristen Maisano] The most common symptoms I see with service members with mild traumatic brain injury and PTSD, Number 1: problems with emotional regulation. So I'll have service members come in that say, "My fuse is just so much shorter than it was before." Or, "I'm crying at Hallmark commercials and I have never done that before." Or, "I'm yelling at my co-workers and that's just not me." Or, "I'm emotionally numb. I see my children and I'm just not feeling what I felt for them before." So being able to regulate emotions and being able to figure out what emotions we actually are feeling and then either amplify or decrease some of those accordingly. Sleep is a huge issue that we work on with OT. We use some of the same techniques—the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for insomnia. So it's abbreviated CBTI, and that theory has been found to be very effective. So it's a non-medicine-based theory for difficulty with sleep. It focuses on increasing sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency is the percentage of time you're asleep while you're in bed. We work on changing the environment, changing the way we're thinking about sleep, those kinds of things instead of using medications, because the service member population or the military population as a whole isn't always receptive to medication use.

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Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.

Kristen Maisano, OTDKristen Maisano, OTD is an occupational therapist and the interim director of Rehabilitation Services for the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia. She specializes in evaluating and treating military patients with traumatic brain injuries.

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