TBI similarities

Interesting thing about TBI – traumatic brain injury and PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is they have many similarities in recovery.  Occasionally, they are interchanged and more than one source asserts that PTSD is a traumatic brain injury.  My daughter researches her challenges of recovering from a brain tumor removal.  This article on Emotional and Physical Recovery has several excellent points for PTSD.


  • Physical recovery is usually faster than emotional recovery. In fact, many people don’t have noticeable physical problems 6 or 12 months after their injury.
  • Though family members have not had a physical injury, most will feel some emotional pain. How and when each person shows emotions differs greatly. One family member might seem to sleep “all the time,” while another may have problems sleeping. One might be jumpy and argue with everyone, while another may be quiet and stay by herself. One family member might be upset for two months and then feel fine. Another may show no reaction for two months and then suddenly start crying a lot and report feeling hopeless.
  • Emotional recovery for the patient and family members can take a very long time, five or ten years or longer.
  • More serious physical problems can mean more serious emotional problems.
  • Getting better physically or emotionally isn’t necessarily a smooth process. Sometimes people stop getting better for a time (plateau) and then make progress again. Sometimes people take one step back for every two steps forward.
  • New problems and stresses can affect emotional recovery. These may include the illness of another family member and problems at work or school.


I agree that the physical injuries from my childhood abuse healed years ago.  Hard thing about PTSD is you don’t always have scars to ‘prove’ anything happened.

A person with PTSD affects everyone in their family…whether they want to or not.

Recovery from PTSD is often measured in years.  I attended 10 years of counseling.  I am a work in progress for life.

Yup, it also goes the other way around, more serious emotional problems may cause more serious physical problems.

I wish it was only one step back for two steps forward.  More than once I complained bitterly that I felt like I was at the bottom again.  My counselor asked me what was the advantage, I quipped, “I know the territory.”  After laughing he reminded me that I knew the steps to getting back out of the hole.

Trying to solve new problems with the same ineffective bad habits slows down progress.  Allowing new ways of solving problems opens up new opportunities for healing.  I believe this is key to healthy counseling, the counselor teaches a client new ways to tackle problems



3 thoughts on “TBI similarities

  1. I’ve begun to wonder if I’ve had a detrimental effect on my partner. Whilst my recovery is going quite well, he doesn’t seem to cope with stress anywhere near as well as he used to. I realise it’s to be expected because it’s been hard for him, but I do feel guilty.

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