The lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq tested the U.S. military in dynamic ways and led to unforeseen consequences both for our Massachusetts servicemen and servicewomen as well as for their families.
One of the most tragic, underreported challenges concerns traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – specifically, how TBIs have impacted the mental health of hundreds of thousands of members of the Armed Forces.
Massachusetts military couples already face obstacles that civilian couples never need to confront: long, hard to predict deployments; the real possibility of injury or death on the job; and mentally and physically demanding work that often takes priority over family needs.
When those in combat suffer psychological problems due to injury or exposure on the battlefield, family dynamics can be thrown off. TBIs permanently alter the brain’s neurochemistry, leading to changes in behavior and personality that can be hard to predict and hard for loved ones to recognize and manage.
In addition, the research in this area is complex and ongoing. Scientists are only beginning to grapple with the relationship between head injuries and personality changes. What should or can be done to save relationships impacted by TBI remains an open scientific question.
Traumatic brain injury can result from any injury to the head and lead to diverse medical issues, such as:
- Attention and focus problems
- Loss of empathy and affect
- Loss of ability to manage daily tasks
- Emotional control problems
- Severe mood swings
- Violent tendencies
- Hallucinations and flashbacks
These conflicts saw the use of many blast devices, like improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket-propelled grenades. Advances in armor, field medicine, and evacuation techniques saved many people who would have been lost in previous conflicts. Health care professionals have better tools to diagnose TBI than they did in previous conflicts.
TBIs often touch off or worsen conflicts in intimate relationships and thus lead to divorce. Research shows that divorce rate is 38% for married couples where one person has been inflicted with a traumatic brain injury.
In general, the longer a couple has been together, the more likely the couple is to stay together in spite of the obstacles created by the brain injury. TBIs resulting from military service are frequently compounded by the symptoms of PTSD which can intensify the impacts of the TBI.
At the Law Offices of Renee Lazar, we understand how to approach cases with sensitivity. Call our law firm today for a FREE case evaluation at 978-844-4095 to discuss your options.