Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Mental Health

Menu
Menu

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
EBenefits Badge
 

Effects of TBI

A decorative banner with a collage of diverse people.

Effects of TBI

Overview

Motor vehicle crashes. Blasts and explosions. Falls.

Many events can deliver a blow or jolt to your head, potentially causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, between 2000 and 2017, the Department of Defense reported more than 375,000 diagnosed cases of TBI among members of the U.S. armed forces around the world.

The brain affects how you think; how you feel; how you act. So a TBI can affect your physical functions, thinking abilities, behaviors, and more. The injury can range from mild to severe, and it may increase your risk for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as sleeping problems.

What Causes TBI?

A traumatic brain injury can result from:

  • A blow to your head by an object, such as a fist during a fight
  • Your head striking an object, such as the inside of a vehicle during a crash
  • The impact to your head of a nearby blast or explosion

Common Symptoms

Most TBI injuries are considered mild, but even mild cases can involve serious long-term effects on areas such as thinking ability, memory, mood, and mental focus. Common symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Hearing problems
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in your sense of taste or smell
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Repeating yourself
  • Becoming easily angry or frustrated

While most people with mild TBI have symptoms that resolve within hours, days, or weeks, a minority may experience persistent symptoms that last for several months or longer.

If you are a Veteran in crisis — or you’re concerned about one — free, confidential support is available 24/7. Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, send a text message to 838255, or chat online.

Screening

Veterans who use VA health care must undergo mandatory TBI screening if they served in combat operations. The four-question screen identifies Veterans who were exposed to events that increase the risk for TBI and have symptoms that may be related to that specific event or events. VA providers discuss the results of the comprehensive evaluations with the Veteran and recommend follow-on care with primary care and other specialty providers, as necessary.

In Veterans’ own words

Veterans who have experienced TBI talk about their experiences. Listen as they describe the signs and symptoms of TBI and its effects on their families. By reaching out for help, they were able to overcome these obstacles and live better lives.

Read More

Help for Homeless Veterans: 877-4AID-VET
 VA Health Care: Apply Now
Caregiver Support: 855-260-3274
eBenefits: My Gateway to Benefit Information
Find out if you’re eligible: Health Benefits Explorer
Veterans Health Benefits Guide
Veterans Health Library
Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN