Does Personal Injury Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Have a Physical Component?

ALPENA, Michigan. It is well-documented that traumatic brain injury has a very real physical component. When the head is subject to a bump, shock, or sudden jolt, individuals can suffer from serious cognitive, emotional, and perceptual difficulties. Studies have found that small tangles can form in brain tissue, similar to the tangles that form inside the brains of NFL players when they suffer concussions. Car accident victims who suffer head injuries may experience problems sleeping, problems with memory, or changes in mood. These “invisible injuries” of car crashes can be just as serious or, in some cases, even more serious than the visible injuries. Christopher Trainor & Associates in Alpena Michigan are personal injury lawyers  who assist accident victims suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury. Yet, recent research suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder may have a physical component, not unlike traumatic brain injury.

A researcher studying the brains of war veterans found that in veterans who committed suicide or who exhibited signs of post traumatic stress disorder, that the brains showed physiological changes when examined post-mortem. According to the New York Times, the researcher described the scarring as a “brown-dust pattern.” The results are important because until recently, PTSD was seen as a psychological phenomenon, not a physical one. While the researchers suggest that the physiological effects could be tied to blasts and explosives, much more work needs to be done on the physical manifestations that PTSD can have.

The impact of post-traumatic stress disorder is very real for sufferers. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, the condition can develop in anyone who has undergone a shocking, traumatic, or dangerous experience. While undergoing a traumatic experience doesn’t automatically mean you’ll experience PTSD, experiencing a traumatic event can make it more likely that you’ll develop PTSD later. Symptoms include changes in mood, re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of the places where the event took place, or situations that remind one of the event, nightmares, and frightening thoughts. PTSD can make it difficult for individuals to enjoy life activities they previously enjoyed. Some people may change their lifestyles to adjust to frightening thoughts associated with the event.

According to the New York Times, the difference between a physical brain injury, like traumatic brain injury, and PTSD can be minor. With PTSD, the brain’s cell patterns change in response to the trauma—a very physical reality. These changes can be difficult to map using brain scans or tests.

Victims of either PTSD or traumatic brain injury sometimes face a long road to recovery. Individuals may have trouble working, and engaging in normal life activities. Victims’ families may face the additional challenge of caring for a loved one suffering from injuries and scars that no one can see.

If you or a loved one is suffering from traumatic brain injury or PTSD following a car crash, you may be entitled to receive a recovery to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Visit to learn more about your rights and options.


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