Concern About My Brother With a TBI Drinking

"For veterans and non-veterans with TBI, the only amount of drugs and alcohol that is safe is none."

So your brother has returned from his third deployment, it sounds like, and had a brain injury in the most recent one and before and in between deployments drank quite a bit at times, which is not uncommon among our military servicemen and women. And now, since his brain injury, he's back home and seems to be doing some binge drinking. And your question is, how concerned should we be about that binge drinking? Should it be a matter of maybe not drinking too much but some is okay? And like so many, it sounds like your brother is dealing with the multiple issues that come from deployment in our most recent conflict and some of the various problems, not just brain injury, that occur from that. So I think it's important to be concerned about the drinking, that we're pretty sure that the recovery from a traumatic brain injury is affected by adding alcohol or illicit drugs into the picture. We are sure that binge drinking is too much. How much drinking is too much is something there's a little bit of difference of opinion in the field. My own advice to the folks I work with, both veterans and non-veterans, is that the only amount I can tell you for sure that's safe is none. So if the drinking is being needed now for dealing with some of that post-deployment gook that we deal with, let's try to maybe together figure out another way to address some of that, and let's try to check the drinking now, particularly given that you recently had a traumatic brain injury. That would be my approach.
Posted on BrainLine March 16, 2010.

About the author: John Corrigan, PhD

Dr. John Corrigan is a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State University, and director of the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation. He is the project director for the Ohio Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.

John Corrigan