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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a severe or moderate trauma to the head, where physical portions of the brain are damaged and functioning is impaired. The trauma can range from mild cases which cause limited functional impairments, such as a concussion or headaches. However, on occasion, the trauma can be much more severe and cause balance problems, mood changes and memory loss. TBI and PTSD have been called the signature wound of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan due to the frequent and powerful blasts experienced in the field; an injury not commonly seen before.

Long and short-term effects of a TBI include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty understanding others
  • Loss of self-control
  • Physical aggression
  • Flash anger
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts
  • Apathy
  • Poor judgment and reasoning
  • Seizures
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Physical disabilities
  • Impaired social skills
  • Inability to recognize or accept limitations

Veterans who sustained any injuries during a deployment or at home that resulted in an alteration of consciousness may have sustained a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) or concussion and should be evaluated. Please note that the mTBI screen alone does not provide diagnosis of mTBI; a clinical interview is required. The VA offers TBI screening to all veterans and active duty service members who have served in combat.


The VA also offers Polytrauma/TBI system of care which provides comprehensive and high-quality care for Veterans and Servicemembers. The VA offers TBI screening to all Veterans/active duty Servicemembers who served in the combat theaters of Iraq or Afghanistan. You are at particular risk for TBI if you were involved in a:

  • Blast or explosion (e.g., IED, RPG, land mines, grenades)

  • Vehicular accident/crash

  • Fragment wound above the shoulder

  • Fall

If you choose to be screened, you and your health care team will get important information about your overall physical condition. If you have an injury to the brain, VA can start treatment more quickly and help you better manage symptoms.  Veterans who believe they may have suffered a TBI during their time in the military may also go to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center website for more information and support.

Crisis Intervention (24/7)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Suicide Prevention Hotline

If you just want to talk, call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center to talk to another combat veteran.
1(800) 927-8387

DVBIC Information & Referral (24/7)
Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE)
Outreach Center



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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)