Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have confounded doctors and made diagnosis and treatment challenging. The medical conditions can affect hundreds of thousands of Americans, but are particularly common among veterans who worked in combat zones.
In response, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense announced they are investing more than $100 million in research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of TBI and PTSD in California and nationwide.
Veterans who return from combat may suffer the complicated symptoms of PTSD, which has led to suicide, domestic abuse, personality changes, and the inability to work, resulting in disability. Traumatic brain injury is also understudied and affects veterans, athletes, and other victims of head trauma. Many victims of TBI will have symptoms that go unnoticed for months after an accident or injury. Treatment can be difficult and for many sufferers, the damage is permanent.
There has been significant confusion among military branches regarding PTSD and TBI cases. A number of these cases that have shed light on the difficulty of diagnosing and treating both PTSD and TBI. Now the departments have a common goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and quality of care. The funds will be invested to improve care for more than 15% of service members and veterans who suffer impaired functioning as a result of PTSD.
This year alone, approximately 3,400 researchers will engage 2,300 research projects with nearly $1.9 billion in funding. The funds will bring together leading scientists and researchers who are dedicated to the health and welfare of service members and veterans.
Veterans who suffer from PTSD or TBI may find hope in the investment and additional funding. Prioritizing research, diagnosis and treatment should ultimately improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families.
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “TBI and PTSD Get $100 Million in Research Money,” Michael Shindler, Oct. 9, 2012