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Cognitive Rehabilitation Helps Warriors With Mild TBI

Soldier listening to audio recording

Photo by Martin Shapiro

Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) — also known as concussion — remains one of the most common injuries sustained by those serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is due to the widespread use of explosive weapons, the increased survival rates due to advances in body armor and the increased ability of health professionals to screen for concussion. The majority of individuals who sustain a concussion have symptoms that last only a short period of time, recovering within minutes to several weeks. However, a small number of individuals who sustain a concussion may have persistent symptoms that can interfere with their productivity, independence, relationships and other aspects of daily life.

Cognitive rehabilitation may help to reduce persistent symptoms following concussion and restore peak functioning. Use the information below to learn about the common cognitive symptoms following concussion, how cognitive rehabilitation helps warriors regain peak functioning and where warriors from each armed service can access resources for recovery.

Common Cognitive Symptoms after a Concussion

It is common to experience physical, emotional or cognitive symptoms after you’ve experienced a concussion. While most of these symptoms resolve on their own without medical care, others may require specific treatment. Cognitive symptoms following concussion may include:

  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased attention
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Difficulty finding the words you want to say

If you are at all concerned about any of these symptoms impacting your performance following a concussion, contact your medic, health care provider or the Psychological Health Resource Center today.

How Cognitive Rehabilitation Works

Cognitive rehabilitation is already a commonly used part of treatment for individuals with moderate and severe TBI. More and more, cognitive rehabilitation is also being used for individuals who experience persistent difficulties following a concussion. In essence, it is used to help warriors strengthen their minds after a brain injury the same way that physical rehabilitation is used to help warriors strengthen their bodies after a physical injury.

The goal of this kind of care is to improve affected warriors’ ability to perform cognitive tasks. This may be accomplished through re-teaching skills that they learned previously or by learning to use a different mechanism to accomplish the same task. Each individual’s treatment plan is unique to his or her needs. Several different specialized health care professionals may be involved in providing cognitive rehabilitation and include: neuropsychologists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists or psychological health professionals.   

Locate Cognitive Rehabilitation Resources

If you, a buddy or a loved one are experiencing ongoing difficulties after a concussion, don’t hesitate to talk with your medic, corpsmen or health care provider.

Additionally, warriors from each armed service have access to resources after they have sustained a concussion or moderate to severe TBI. To find out which tools are best for you, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained health resource consultants are available around-the-clock to help you locate cognitive rehabilitation resources near you.

You can also stay up-to-date with the latest news and information about treatments for TBI by visiting the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. It’s not uncommon to experience cognitive difficulties after a concussion, so don’t put off seeking care if you need it — reaching out for help to strengthen your cognitive functioning can make a real difference.

Additional Resources

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