Concussion/mTBI and PTSD

Concussion/mTBI frequently co-occurs with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in this population.

Watch this short video with Dr. Michael McCrea of the ProHealth Care Neuroscience Center and Research Institute:

PTSD & mTBI: Teasing Out the Differences for Treatment

"The dilemma that the clinician faces is trying to split that hair as to determining whether or not this military person in front of me in clinic has primarily post-traumatic stress disorder or primarily the lingering effects of mild traumatic brain injur

So when evaluating a patient for concussion/mTBI, consider the possibility that your patient may have PTSD, or PTSD and concussion/mTBI. If your patient has PTSD (with or without concussion/mTBI), making the diagnosis is valuable because evidence-based treatments are available.

Here is a brief overview of PTSD treatments from the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

The signs and symptoms of concussion/mTBI and PTSD overlap considerably, so use the following chart to learn the symptoms that can help you discriminate between concussion/mTBI and PTSD for patients who have only one or the other.

Reference: Stein MB, McCallister TW (2009). Exploring the convergence of post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury. Am J Psychiatry; 166:766-776.

Regardless of the cause of the symptoms, treating the symptoms themselves is the right approach.