Traumatic Brain Injury – Dealing with the Insurmountable
Last Updated: 29 Mar 2019
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March is recognized as Brain Injury Awareness month, and we would like to offer some helpful information to our Veterans and their families, and those who may be caring for someone suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.
To support our understanding of this important topic, we prompted a few of our clinicians with the following question: How can Veterans and their families deal with brain injuries?
Scott Rheinschmidt, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) at our San Antonio clinic, says, “Depending on the severity of injury, people can experience anything from random headaches and focus problems from a minor injury, to a whole host of symptoms including memory problems and emotion regulation difficulties from more serious injuries.” This means that caregivers may face a whole range of problems when attempting to help a loved one. With so many possible issues, where does one start?
Rheinschmidt goes on to mention the importance of family counseling:
Family counseling can help family members better understand what brain injury is so everyone is on the same page. Counseling can then provide relevant information about treatment strategies and how each family member can be supportive in their own way and collectively. Also, family members/friends can process their personal experience of how the brain injury has impacted them.
Jeanette James, LPC and Clinic Director of our El Paso clinic, says, “Education for the family and the individual on recognizing the risks for TBI is essential.” To help understand what these risks are, James elaborated, explaining that risk factors, “can increase the risk of suffering [from] TBI” and may include “a previous concussion, […] loss of consciousness, playing sports/position/style of play, history of accidents, and exposure to blasts while at war.” With so many factors at play, a person may find it difficult to recognize the signs of TBI. Because of this, educating oneself on the signs of TBI can be considered as equally important as knowing the risks.
For starters, a person suffering from TBI may be confused or disoriented, often causing the individual to seem unbalanced. Physical signs can include, but aren’t limited to, nausea, headaches, ringing in the ears, and even sensitivity to light or noise (James).
Although caring for a person with TBI may (at times) seem like an insurmountable task, know that counseling may help. Through education and understanding, the challenges associated with TBI may become much easier to face. If you or someone you know is struggling with TBI, you’re not alone. Whether the need is counseling, education, or simply a support group, our clinics are here to help.