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fourpaws2@sbcglobal.net

Fourpaws2@sbcglobal.net

Question

Is traumatic brain injury the same as PTSD when it comes to filing for a VA claim? The VA inferred TBI in my claim and awarded me 40 percent for sustaining trauma to my head.  I want to file for PTSD for a non combat stressor that I can prove. 

Will the VA combine the two?

 

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Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs from a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Brain injury often occurs during some type of trauma, such as an accident, blast, or a fall. Often when people refer to TBI, they are mistakenly talking about the symptoms that occur following a TBI. Actually, a TBI is the injury, not the symptoms.

How serious is my injury?

A TBI is basically the same thing as a concussion. A TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. These terms tell you the nature of the injury itself. They do not tell you what symptoms you may have or how severe the symptoms will be.

A TBI can occur even when there is no direct contact to the head. For example, when a person suffers whiplash, the brain may be shaken within the skull. This damage can cause bleeding between the brain and skull. Bruises can form where the brain hits the skull. Like bruises on other parts of the body, for mild injuries these will heal with time.

About 80% of all TBI's in civilians are mild (mTBI). Most people who have a mTBI will be back to normal by three months without any special treatment. Even patients with moderate or severe TBI can make remarkable recoveries.

The length of time that a person is unconscious (knocked out) is one way to measure how severe the injury was. If you weren't knocked out at all or if you were out for less than 30 minutes, your TBI was most likely minor or mild. If you were knocked out for more than 30 minutes but less than six hours, your TBI was most likely moderate.

What are the common symptoms following a TBI?

Symptoms that result from TBI are known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Few people will have all of the symptoms, but even one or two of the symptoms can be unpleasant. PCS makes it hard to work, get along at home, or relax. In the days, weeks, and months following a TBI the most common symptoms are:

Physical

Headache

Feeling dizzy

Being tired

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If you can I recommend getting a doctor to opinion which is the difference without mere speculation which is a term they use often. In my case they lumped my severe TBI with my PTSD together but granted me IU. I myself am in a uphill battle to seperate the ratings. So please ask your C&P doctor to seperate the two if he can. It could be that they are related and it's hard for you to tell.

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On 1/21/2017 at 10:11 AM, jfrei said:

If you can I recommend getting a doctor to opinion which is the difference without mere speculation which is a term they use often. In my case they lumped my severe TBI with my PTSD together but granted me IU. I myself am in a uphill battle to seperate the ratings. So please ask your C&P doctor to seperate the two if he can. It could be that they are related and it's hard for you to tell.

This is absolutely correct. Many TBI and PTSD symptoms overlap and it is sometimes impossible for an examiner to separate which symptoms belong to which diagnosis. If they can't, then we as raters are required by law to grant the highest evaluation of the two and provide what is required for the next highest evaluation of both conditions. It is not very common to see an examiner separate symptoms but I have seen it. Usually it is because most of the "minor" symptoms (mild memory loss, concentration issues etc.) of TBI and PTSD are the same and we usually don't see severe cases of TBI where more severe symptoms do not overlap with PTSD.  

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