This is very encouraging (if I haven’t said it before). The fact that clinical researchers are looking at the biomechanical actions of mild TBI and PTSD opens up new routes for better understanding more pieces of this puzzle. I’ve said a number of times that TBI and PTSD are intricately intertwined in some really fundamental ways , many/most of which are experientially biochemical in nature. And the fact that researchers are now paying attention to this and publishing papers about this, really gives me hope for the future of handling this “co-morbid” condition.
I have also long believed (and I think also said) that mild TBI is especially vulnerable to PTSD development, because by its very nature it is confusing at the most fundamental level — which leads to continual activation of the fight-flight reflex, which ultimately builds up a biochemical load that’s heavy on the stress hormone side — and light on the rest-digest impulse. Mild TBI and its successive “micro-traumas” of continuously baffling and inexplicable experiences, many of which are either negative/threatening or perceived to be negative/threatening, is the experiential equivalent of all those subconcussive hits sustained in football, and the biochemical overload of stress hormones that builds up, day after interminable day, serves to further fry the system and the brain and the circuits which would normally serve to chill us out and manage to find a way around (or through) the troubles in one piece.
Unfortunately, I’m not a clinical researcher with an internationally recognized facility, so there’s only so much that I can do to advance this understanding in the circles where people make the diagnoses and treatment decisions. But I can at least do my part here, in hopes that the people who are actually affected by mTBI and PTSD will find some answers — and relief. And those who treat people with PTSD and/or TBI would be well-served to explore the connections between the two. It is such an obvious connection, when you stop dismissing life experience as “anecdotal” that it surprises me that no one is confronting it head-on. Or that anyone is still being territorial about their explanations for why some of us do and experience the things we do. If the professions would cross-pollinate and cross-promote, they would uncover a vast opportunity to not only expand their service, but come up with a whole new slew of approaches that actually work with those suffering from stress-hormone-overload-induced dysfunction/disorders in the aftermath of TBI.
I can’t control the fields/industries, but I can always hope. And keep working…