Traumatic Brain Injuries Essay

1122 words - 4 pages

The article that I chose, A long road back, is about the many service members of the U.S. armed forces who have experienced traumatic brain injuries, and how they are being diagnosed and treated. This traumactic brain injury or TBI has been labeled as the “signature injury” of the Iraq war. A TBI occurs when physical trauma injures the brain that causes a variety of symptoms. These injuries that are caused are most commonly caused by the explosions of IEDs or improvised explosive devices. These days, the body armor that service members use is quite effective in offering protection, and also medical care has greatly improved since past wars. Therefore, our troops are surviving injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars. The fact is that even though they are surviving, they are often severely scarred by missing limbs or more commonly, brain injuries. These TBIs can cause some pretty serious brain damage, a decrease in cognitive abilities, and the lessening of emotional self-regulation. Cognitive abilities include the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating. In addition to this, many of these service members are also suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is an anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety, and/or insomnia that lingers for an extended period of time after a traumatic experience.
Psychologists, and more specifically neuropsychologists, have had to step in and take over the care of these service members. Neuropsychologists are psychologists who specialize in studying brain behavior relationships, and they have extensive training in the anatomy of the brain. This type of injury is becoming much more common and therefore becoming a more serious problem that needs immediate attention. The main thing is that right now no one really knows what will happen to these affected people in the long term. It is likely that years down the road psychologists will have their hands full with these former service members along with others that have suffered TBIs. As of now these people are being taken care of as best as possible, but when more time passes the game will change. It will take more than just regular doctors and hospitals to care for them.
It has been indicated that anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of service members returning home may have suffered a TBI. It is not difficult to look for the signs of a TBI, but the problem is examining troops who may have suffered one. First of all, many of these service members are not aware that they may have suffered some sort of brain trauma. Also, if they have they need to be screened quickly, but the problem is that is hard to screen them during a firefight for example in a short amount of time and in a dangerous environment. This also plays into effect on the results of the screening. The military has developed these five minute screenings in order to be able to take care...

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