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Can TBI Cause Mental Health Conditions?

Posted by Berry Law on June 21, 2022 in Mental Health

The causes for a Veterans disability can be numerous. Whether back, shoulder, leg, or mental damage, the VA recognizes many conditions as eligible for benefits and compensation. 

If you as a Veteran are dealing with a mental health condition from your time in the service, it is crucial to figure out what caused it in the first place. By doing this, you will be able to make a claim through the VA to receive benefits for your time in the service. If you do not know where to begin or what might have caused your condition in the first place, do not worry. This article will go over the effects of TBI and how you can make a claim.

What Is TBI?

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most often caused by a violent blow to the head or body. An object that goes through the brain tissue can also cause TBI. Depending on the severity of the blow, TBI can affect your brain cells temporarily or have lifelong effects by bruising the brain tissue and causing it to bleed. If the effects are this serious, it can even lead to death.

TBI usually results from several factors. It can be from an object striking the head, penetration of the brain, forces generated by blasts, or jolts that speed up or slow down the movements in the brain.

For example, a concussion is a form of mild TBI that usually results in the Veteran fully recovering. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, concussions can have lingering effects that cause symptoms.

TBI can cause many symptoms. Some of the symptoms occur immediately after the traumatic event, but they can also occur much later over time. There are three categories of symptoms caused by TBI: physical, sensory, and cognitive.

Physical Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Problems speaking
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Trouble waking up from sleep
  • Loss of coordination

Sensory Symptoms

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Bad taste in mouth or smell

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory problems
  • Difficult to concentrate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Profound confusion

How Does the VA Rate TBI?

If you are going to make a claim or an appeal through the VA for your TBI, it is crucial to know the details of how they rate TBI and why they would deny a claim for TBI.

When the VA denies a claim for TBI, it is usually because the claim lacked the necessary evidence to show that the Veteran was diagnosed with TBI during their service. If the VA initially denies your claim on these grounds, you should consult a medical professional for an opinion so you can give the necessary evidence to the VA. From there, Berry Law can assist in getting the compensation you deserve.

The VA gives various ratings depending on the severity of the symptoms of TBI. They will often give it a 0% or a 10% rating. From there, the symptoms from TBI are broken down into ten subcategories, by which it receives a severity rating of 0, 1, 2, 3, or total. Rather than combining the totals for different symptoms, they will take the highest across all and assign that one for your VA rating.

Due to the nature of rating for TBI, it can be challenging to get a rating above 10% unless the symptoms are very severe. However, this does not mean you cannot make a service connection for secondary conditions. If other symptoms develop from the initial symptom, you will be able to receive benefits.

If you were denied a claim or an increase in your disability rating and feel you did not deserve the denial, you can appeal the decision. The attorneys at Berry Law will be able to assist you in gathering the evidence and documents necessary to make a convincing appeal. 

We can also assist you in getting a secondary service connection if a symptom arose after your time in the service but was caused by a pre-existing condition. The legalities can become confusing for those who have never gone through the process before, so a team of professionals aiding you throughout the process can make all the difference.

Can TBI Lead to Mental Health Conditions?

Yes, tramatic brain injuries can make it more likely that a Veteran will develop a mental health condition. In particular, they are at higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. Venterans who have received TBIs may also develop sleeping problems. This is because a TBI affects how you think and function. Symptoms of these conditions are most likely to develop within three to six months following the incident. 

There is also a potential correlation between TBIs and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Because a traumatic brain injury is, in itself, a traumatic event, it is often associated with PTSD.  

Of course, TBIs are not the only potential causes for the development of mental health conditions, which is worth keeping in mind. 

Conclusion

Suffering from TBI can cause many symptoms and problems for Veterans, which is why you should be compensated for your service-connected disabilities. Though some conditions are more challenging to receive benefits for than others, the VA will often give benefits for those suffering from mental health conditions as long as you can show that it is a service-connected disability.

Gathering all of the necessary information and making a claim can be difficult, which is why it is important to have professionals backing you up throughout the process. If you need any help understanding the logistics, reach out to the attorneys at Berry Law. With our knowledge of VA decisions and claims, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Sources:

Traumatic brain injury – Symptoms and causes NIH

NIMH » Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder