Aims: The co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders and other somatic disorders poses a significant challenge for the individual clinician working with veterans who report a history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). In this article, common co-occurring symptoms and disorders will be described in relation to the population of veterans with mTBI, using a retrospective analysis of data from initial screening and secondary level evaluation for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an urban Veteran's Affairs Medical Center.
Participants: Four hundred two veterans of the recent conflicts who received secondary level evaluation for TBI following positive TBI screening.
Outcomes: Significant differences were detected in symptom reporting between those who screened positive and those who screened negative on psychiatric screening. Those with positive posttraumatic stress disorder and depression screens endorsed more cognitive and affective symptoms; individuals screening positive for alcohol abuse did not report significantly more symptoms. Individuals without positive psychiatric screens reported fewer symptoms than those with positive screens. Consideration of these data in the context of a clinical case will be used to elucidate the challenge this presents to the clinical team.
Conclusion: The presence of co-occurring disorders should be considered in the etiology of a veteran's continued symptomatic complaints following TBI.