Alexander Balbir, PhD: The Importance of Addressing TBI/PTSD at the Same Time as Substance Use

Recently, Wounded Warrior Project funded a study with the Rand Corporation on the need to treat substance use disorder along with treating traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The often co-occurring conditions must be treated simultaneously to be as effective as possible.

Dr. Alexander Balbir is the Director of Independent Services at Wounded Warrior Project.

For information about treatments for brain injury please visit The Treatment Hub.

Substance use disorder is co-occurring with traumatic brain injury and mental health. And that’s one thing at Wounded Warrior Project that we’re looking to focus on for the future, is to making sure that our programs on the traumatic brain injury side and the post-traumatic stress side, that those programs also have counterpart substance use disorder programs and that we can treat those two co-occurring issues at the same time. Because if we’re dealing with a traumatic brain injury patient or a patient with post-traumatic stress, and not addressing the substance use disorder, we’re not really healing that individual. We recently funded a study with Rand, the Rand Corporation, to look the co-occurring substance use disorder in mental health and have them explore the space to really look at what is the best opportunity for Wounded Warrior Project to address substance use in our programming. And what we found is that there is an important need right now to make sure that we have substance use programming as a part of our intensive clinical programming. And that was probably one of our best directions and a best deliverable that we received from that Rand study, that really tells us that we cannot heal the individual without both addressing the brain injury, the mental health, as well as the substance use piece to it. And that substance use disorder also requires specific expertise. And Wounded Warrior Project has stepped up to fund additional programming at our Warrior Care Network, to help support substance use disorder in the current academic medical centers’ intensive clinical programming. BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.

Posted on BrainLine September 27, 2021. Reviewed September 27, 2021.