Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Increase Over Time After Concussion 

  • Brain Concussion
  • Brain Damage
  • TBI

A study published in Neurology, suggest concussion (mild traumatic brain injury [mTBI]) symptoms can last as long as 5 years and evolve over time. The study evaluated and compared veterans (n=281) with and without mTBI some of whom were exposed to blast injuries. 

Of the veterans with mTBI, 30% of those with blast-exposed injuries and 34% without blast exposures had increased disability at 5 years than in previous evaluations. A year after injury, 79% of veterans with mTBI resulting from blast exposure and 78% of those with mTBI who were not blast exposed were already in the moderate-to-severe disability range. Over the same time period, only 5% of veterans without concussion or blast exposure had a similar decline. 

A proportion of each group met criteria for moderate-to-severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and symptoms of PTSD increased during the same time period. Between years 1 and 5 PTSD symptoms increased from: 

  •     26% at 1 year to 41% at 5 years for those with mTBI and blast exposure
  •     39% at 1 year to 54% at 5 years for those with mTBI but without blast exposure
  •     25% at 1 year to 39% at 5 years for those without mTBI but with blast exposure
  •     0% at 1 year to 9% at 5 years for those with neither mTBI nor blast exposure

Each evaluation included clinical examination of neurobehavioral and psychiatric symptoms as well as cognitive performance across a variety of functions such as memory, attention and executive function. In addition, researchers collected information about level of disability and quality of life.

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