Case Study: Recovering from trauma, re-entering society

Sgt. A. was an active-duty soldier in the armed forces when he sustained a traumatic brain injury from multiple blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket-propelled grenades. In addition to documented cognitive dysfunction and neuroimaging evidence of physical trauma to the brain, Sgt. A. experienced severe symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

He was admitted to CORE from a military transition unit, where he was receiving services for PTSD. At the time of his admission, Sgt. A was having great difficulty with adult daily living skills (ADLs) and functional living as a result of attentional and memory impairment. He was also severely isolative, due to nightmares, re-experiencing phenomena, and other PTSD symptoms. Over the course of six months of intensive, multidisciplinary treatment, including daily individual psychotherapy, he made significant functional gains. At the time of his discharge, he was independent in basic and most instrumental ADLs, following a daily schedule independently, and working on a volunteer basis in animal care. He was discharged home to live with his family and continues to improve.

Although there are several empirically validated treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder, treatment outcome is currently guided entirely by symptomatology and subjective report.  Future developments in neuroimaging and neuroplasticity will allow treatment to be guided by physical and neurochemical changes to the brain, which can result in treatments that are more effective, more efficient, and less mentally and emotionally taxing to the patient.