Traumatic Brain Injury TBI
What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Examples of external forces are falls, exposure to blasts, being hit in the head, sudden and violent change in air pressure and more.
Acquired Brain Injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth and is often the result of lack of oxygen to the brain, poisoning, strokes, etc.
The relationship between the two is that there has been injury to the brain which causes disruption and damage to this most vital and fragile of organs.
How do I know if I have a TBI /ABI?
This can be hard to tell.
You may “feel” absolutely normal.
Often the symptoms are seen by those around you who know you the best but they may not feel comfortable saying anything.
Often the symptoms of TBI / ABI are attributed to other diagnosis such as depression, anxiety or PTSD.
Symptoms often seen are changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions.
- Thinking (poor concentration, memory problems making poor judgement calls and reasoning)
- Sensation (problems with sight, sensitivity to light, sensation “overload” and balance);
- Language (communication problems, expression of ideas/concepts, and understanding)
- Emotion (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness)
Dependent on the severity, type and location of the injury these symptoms may last a short time or affect a person the rest of their life.
Military personnel are particularly at risk due to the nature of their exposure to accidents, injuries and exposure to blasts.
What should I do if I think I have had a TBI / ABI?
If detected there is help available. Ask yourself…
- Have you ever had an accident or injury where you lost consciousness or where dazed (got your “bell rung”)?
- Have been exposed to blasts, a violent change in air pressure or noxious fumes?
- After a particular accident/exposure did you or those around you notice you had a harder time remembering, concentrating, maintaining your typical level of patience (mood control) or other changes?
- If you have questions we are here for your answers. If we can’t help there are others who can and we can put you in touch.
You can use this contact sheet to contact our TBI Program Coordinator.
Please take a look at our Mental Health Provider List to find your county's mental health professional.
Download the MAX Impact Mobile Application
MAX, your virtual service dog is here to make an impact for Veterans who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury. Max Impact is a free app designed to empower veterans, family, friends and caregivers. You can use a screening tool to determine whether your symptoms may be related to a TBI, be connected with providers in your area who can help, learn how to manage symptoms and better relax, and connect with other veterans with TBIs. Read the Max Impact Brochure for more information!
Download the free app today at:
(The Max Impact app was made possible through a grant from the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council at DSHS.)
There are Many Resources and Professionals Available to Help you Learn How to Adapt to Your Injury:
- Brain Injury Alliance of Washington State
- WDVA Behavioral Health Provider List
Traumatic Brain Injury Program Specialist IV
Office: (360) 725-2223
Toll Free: (800) 562-2308
VA Medical Centers:
Puget Sound VA Healthcare System