Archive for March, 2018

Emory Healthcare Veterans Program Clinical Director Dr. Rauch Talks About Veterans Reintegration and Mental Health

Veteran hugs childMost servicemembers will have some type of adjustment period after returning home from deployment. For each person the process is different depending on different variables during and after deployment. Mental health issues, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma can make that even more difficult. The Emory Veterans Program is here to help them reclaim their lives.

Question:
How long does it usually take to adjust to normal life again? How long should I wait to see someone if I’m still not feeling like my normal self?

Dr. Rauch:
That is a good question. If at any time you’re having issues that you feel that you need or want help with, you should come see us. Readjustment often takes a year, and for some people longer, to feel like they’re really back in their life. The readjustment process is different for every individual and often depends on life’s variables, such as your job, social support and your family. It’s never too early to come talk with someone familiar with military service and deployment about your experience. Reintegration can be a difficult process. Mental health issues, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma can make that even harder. The Emory Veterans Program is here to help you reclaim your life.

Question:
My brother has seemed moody and depressed since he got back. Is there a good way for me to help him or encourage him to talk to someone about how he’s feeling?

Dr. Rauch:
It is common for returning veterans to have problems talking with people who have not deployed. While most veterans returning don’t have mental health issues, a significant minority may have problems with depression, posttraumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. Letting your brother know that you’re willing to listen or help is probably the best thing you can do. Sometimes it just takes patience to allow someone to open up.

Learn more about the Integrated Memory Care Clinic

Or call for more information 1-888-514-5345

The Impact of Brain Injury on Veterans

father hugs soldier sonNearly 20% of deployed military personnel experience traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs are any brain injury caused by an outside force. These injuries can be “closed,” such as from a fall or motor vehicle accident or “open,” like from a gunshot wound.

Traumatic brain injuries range broadly from mild to severe. People with mild TBI (also called concussion) often fully recover within days to weeks, while those with severe TBI may have significant and sometimes permanent impairments. Fortunately, 70 – 90% of all TBIs in military personnel fall within the “mild” range.

Symptoms of Mild TBI

Traumatic brain injury can cause physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties.

Typical symptoms of mild TBI/concussion include:

  • Looking and feeling dazed
  • Being uncertain of what is happening; feeling confused
  • Having difficulty thinking clearly or responding correctly to simple questions
  • Being unable to describe events immediately before or after the injury occurred

Complications of Mild TBI

Although most with mild TBIs fully recover within a matter of days, a small percentage have symptoms that persist for months or even years. What causes this? Research shows outside factors may interfere with the brain’s recovery. What begins as a neurologic injury is complicated by other non-neurologic factors, such as chronic pain, side effects of medicines and psychological distress—all of which cause similar symptoms to TBI.

These outside factors are commonly experienced by veterans because in many cases their brain injuries were the result of a blast that also injured other parts of their bodies. In addition to their physical pain, injured veterans also commonly experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)anxiety disorders and depression.

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Not Alone

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. They work to build awareness of the condition and support individuals with brain injuries and their families.

Help for Veterans with TBI

Emory Healthcare Veterans Program offers expert and collaborative care to help heal the invisible wounds of war. Our comprehensive approach combines psychiatry, neurology, rehabilitative medicine and family support to help veterans reintegrate and reclaim their lives.

coordinated treatment plan may include:

  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Education about typical recovery and common barriers
  • Management of orthopaedic injuries and chronic pain
  • Medication management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Complementary medicine (yoga, meditation, acupuncture, sleep medicine)