Dealing with the Behavioral Complications of Brain Injury
Dr. Paul Aravich talks about how soldiers, veterans, and civilians can prevent and get treatment for the behavioral complications from TBI that can worsen with age.
See more of Dr. Paul Aravich's videos here.
I think one of the greatest gaps in our research and treatment protocols is how to deal with the behavioral complications of traumatic brain injury. The whole issue is referred to in the brain injury community as "neurobehavioral" problems. I don't think we should call these problems neurobehavioral problems. I think we should call them behavioral complications of traumatic brain injury. We ought to be empirical and describe them for exactly what they are. There is a hidden epidemic. People don't know that these are consequences of their brain injury, don't oftentimes seek treatment, and they can be very disabling. One of the interesting areas of speculation right now, for which there is no good data but people are speculating, is that PTSD in our wounded warriors, for example, from the second World War-- that was effectively managed for the last several decades-- There is now growing speculation, without good data, that that might come back. That it might come back as we get older. So the best treatment for these behavioral complications is to the extent that's possible, prevention of them. To the extent you can't prevent them, early intervention is necessary. But the fact of the matter is, the DOD and the VA systems have in place all kinds of resources for our veterans. And unfortunately, they're not taking advantage of those resources as much as they could be taking care of them in some instances. So what are the barriers to access to care by way of the VA system, and how to get over the stigma that people have, and let them understand they don't have to be depressed their whole lives, that there are treatments for that, or ways to help them in the short run as well as in the long run.
Posted on BrainLine February 14, 2013.
Paul Aravich, PhD is a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of Pathology and Anatomy, Geriatrics, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia.
Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.