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Extreme PTSD - Wife Has Unusual Symptoms From Head Injury

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by stevenpaul, Nov 26, 2006.

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  1. stevenpaul

    stevenpaul New Member

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    Hi, My wife has recently been diagnosed as having severe PTSD following a head injury 12 months ago.
    I have read endlessly for days all about PTSD but have yet to talk to anyone with the same problems, is it possible for someone with PTSD to have the following?
    Total loss of memory, from the accident to 4 days ago, day 5 onwards totally "wiped out"
    Anxiety/Panic attacks: loud noise can cause my wife to collapse
    changed from right handed to left handed,
    My wife has all the other classic symptoms as well (nightmares,flashbacks etc) but I would love to hear from any one with simillar experiences so I know she has been correctly diagnosed.

    thanks
    steve
    UK
     
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  3. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    What you have described as a panic attack by her collapsing, that sounds more like the startle response being extreme which is not unheard of and just about every one I know with PTSD has it. Just try to avoid loud noises!

    But amnesia to the extent you describe and switching hands sounds more along the line of brain injury, not PTSD, though I am not an autroity on it, just have it. While it is normal to have no recall of the trauma and still have PTSD from it, the way you describe is she has lost about a years worth? Or am I reading that wrong? Personally it is not unheard of me to "lose" a week and not be able to tell you what I did or who I saw. A few other people here do that.

    Good luck Steve and I hope you do not mind me moving your original post to Introductions. Welcome, and I hope collectively we can help you with all your questions, and do not forget we also have a welcoming spouse section too for your support in handling it being a care taker.
     
  4. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    I've collapsed (fainted) from the startle response, but the right to left handed thing sounds more like head injury. I know that trying to keep a trauma repressed takes a huge amount of effort and have adverse effects. I'm not sure if that is what she is doing. Is there a way, by chance, that you could encourage her to come on to this site and read a bit. Hopefully, in time, she'll be able to introduce herself.

    She's very lucky to have you. You've taken the initiative to read as much about ptsd as possible. You might want to consider posting in the spouses forum. There are many partners of ptsd'ers that would understand your frustrations.

    Welcome!
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Memory loss as a result of an accident is more likely contributable to amnesia, not so much PTSD. Yes, PTSD can cause people to suppress memories, but that is more not even as a result of PTSD itself, and usually only within those who have suffered prolonged abuse, such as childhood ongoing abuse. It is not so much PTSD that blocks the memories, more simply the mind itself that refuses to accept them anymore for the sheer ongoing nature of abuse itself.

    Accidents are more likely though either brain damage in some form, or amnesia caused by the accident.

    These are all typical symptoms of PTSD resulting from trauma (being the accident), apart from the changing hands. That is more likely a result of brain damage in some form, minor or major. I would suggest that only and MRI could actually tell you of the damage itself, if she has not already had one. The MRI would also confirm for you whether she has PTSD or not, as that is the only way in which to 100% know whether the chemical imbalance has taken effect between the brain hemispheres.
     
  6. stevenpaul

    stevenpaul New Member

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, Anthony, Nam & veiled.
    First and foremost although my wifes problems now are very extreme, her experience at the time of the accident was not in the same league as most of the experiences that i have read about on this site. I can totally understand how these experiences can, will and do have an adverse affect on life.
    My wife was at a large public event when she was struck on the back of the head causing her to fall unconcious some 30 minutes after the blow, she was taken to hospital and spent 24 hours in intensive care and 3 further days under observation, upon her release she was diagnosed with post concusion syndrome.
    She has had an mri & ct scan which showed no sign of damage(can you really test for ptsd from a scan Anthony)
    Two weeks later my wife lost the abillity to speak, it took 3 months to relearn how to speak with lessons from a speach therapist.
    My wife is on sleeping pills, antidepressants and beta blockers, I dont think the antidepressants are just for depression, more for the anxiety.

    My wifes memory lasts for 4/5 days so she has now lost a complete year, the lack of memory is causing me problems because she forgets she is ill so when somthing triggers her anxiety or she has a nightmare she is very confused as well as being terrified.

    If you met my wife in the comfort and secureity of our home, you would only notice mild symptoms, but to see her out and about is very different, she is scared of noise, sudden movement, large vehicles, crowds the list could go on.
    My wife finds it very difficult to discuss her nightmares or the flashbacks (is this normal).The flash backs are the worst.
    My wife is as bad now as she was many months ago is this normal ?.

    Having read the replies I think that maybe my wife has PTSD + something else, I can not believe that my wife could have any symptoms that are worse then others.

    thanks
    I look forward to hearing from you
    steve
     
  7. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    I would say double check on the brain scan, something is wrong somewhere. As far as PTSD she is showing some very classic symptoms. And yes you can see it, the brain will change, there is a pic around here, I will try to find it (no promises) but I think it is in the Information section.

    Now the way you describe the memory I understand better and that is not PTSD, it has to be something else I would think at play.

    Nightmares and flashbacks are very hard to talk about and since she keeps hitting a "reset" button so to speak it may be very hard to get her where she can talk about it as it takes time.

    We are as open as we are because we hit the bottom and we know what we have to do to try and recover, only so many years you can hold it down and you finally get that to get better you have to go through it again. Again with her "reset" I don't know how that is possible. A truly heartbreaking senerio.

    Any way any of the drugs she is on doing the memory in? Rare side effects are rare but happen. I would suggest get her dope and find out as much as you can on it and the combinations. Some drugs mixed can have side effects one standing alone won't. I am just trying to think of all possiblities with the memory including brain damage.

    If you want to list her meds we can look them up for you and see if any combinations are not good. You would be surprised at what a doc will give even with clear contradictions to be used together. And some doses can be too high causing memory issues. I had that pleasure first hand, just not to the extent of your wife. I knew I was forgetting and went to a new doctor to fix it.

    I wish we could do more but we are here to help any way we are able.
     
  8. stevenpaul

    stevenpaul New Member

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    Thanks Veiled,

    My wife has been diagnosed as having pstd by a psycologist she has seen weekly for 6 months, every week my wife talked to her as though they had never met before, weird or what. is a psycologist well placed to comment on ptsd ?.

    Our next step is to see a psychiatrist. we are waiting for an appointment.

    having read your comments i now have a new theory, could my wife be in that shell shocked immediately after accident stage still now after all this time due to her memory being 5 days ?

    It would explain alot, she cant go out of the house alone or perform household chores and yet she has taken up knitting !!!(shes only 42!!)and her freehand drawing is exceptionally good(it wasnt before accident)

    Alcohol abuse is not an issue because she cant drink on the tablets,

    the cocktail of drugs might be inhibiting recovery of memory but it didnt cause it, my wifes memory has been consistant from the start, before she started the drugs.

    the emotional side is strange, usually my wife would be all soppy over babies but now she isnt(she has to fake it so as not to upset our friends !)

    thanks
    steve
    uk
     
  9. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Not leaving home alone would be the agoraphobia aspect of PTSD. "Normal" Not doing house hold chores would likely be the depression aspect, again normal. Knitting, she found something to zone out on and relax, not a bad thing. Being detached emotionally (like the babies) is also again normal and could also be due to depression. The things that do not seem normal for PTSD is the hand switch and memory.

    The therapist is fine with a PhD. who has experience with trauma and is 10x better than a shrink who passes dope out like candy, though there is a need for meds they can get a bit silly with them sometimes. I get stuffy as my shrink messed up meds and landed me in the hospital. As far as the therapy and trying to heal from the trauma the PhD is a lot better as they coach you, shrinks don't. My shrink rarely sees me except to try and find a new pill to fix me, my other doc was weekly and he used CBT.

    Plus side though the shrink will be a MD so you have a better chance if you find a good one at finding out where these other symptoms your wife has are coming from. The Phd is going to work more on your cognitive behaviors though. But if she cannot remember the last session you are throwing money out the window until she gets her memory straight. I thought I would never say this. But I think the MD shrink would be your best choice for now. It seems obvious your wife needs meds at this point and you need a medical doctor for her condition as it now stands. Once she gets a grip on memory then therapy would be useful and needed. Then reintroduce the (new) PhD person.

    But the PhD your wife sees weekly for 6 months now... I think I would want to knock the hell out of. If her condition has been unchanged and like it is now for 6 months they are taking you for a ride and should have told you months ago she needs an MD and they cannot help her the way she is currently. Therapy is useless if you cannot remember the skills they are teaching you. I think that doc sees $$$... not the problem your wife needs help with.
     
  10. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread292.html[/DLMURL] Follow this link from our info about the brain in this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2015
  11. stevenpaul

    stevenpaul New Member

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    To Veiled,

    Thanks, you talk a lot of sense.

    The problem with household chores is confusion, a blur, not nowing where to start. Making a bed for example, if it is fairly neat already then no problem, but, if its all over the place she just cant figure it out with out a pointer card that has instructions which she follows one step at a time.

    Thanks for the advice on shrinks and stuff, I really do need to diagnose my wife so we can then start planning some kind of future.


    thanks again
    steve
    uk
     
  12. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Oh, that aspect of doing them... again normal, sorry. We can get so overwhelmed at the most trivial things that were once something we never thought about and just did. Until you end up with PTSD uncontrolled you never knew what you took for granted. Once it is controlled these things start to come back together. But your situation is very unique and I hope y'all get to the bottom of it so she can be treated and start healing. Please keep us posted of any outcomes and any questions you have feel free to ask.

    And do not forget the spouses' forum. We cannot function as easily as we learn to do without their support and they are there to support each other and their normal challenges of trying to deal with us! May prove useful to you.
     
  13. Terry

    Terry Well-Known Member

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    Hey Steve, Sounds to me like she is definetly having symptoms of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). A person doesn't even have to get knocked out to have severe problems. Iv'e had numerous CT and MRI scans which showed absolutely nothing yet I would have a GrandMal seizures. You can't get most neurologists to agree on any one point. Ask around and find the most respected neurologist in your area. Go back to the ICU and talk to the nurses who took care of your wife (take a pizza or something with you to break the ice) ( I know guys, it's manipulation. but it's for a good cause). In the past 6 years I've gone thru alot of stuff with my own head injuries.Internet search Traumatic Brain Injury (lots of good info). Take care buddy and give your wife a hug. That's me in the brain turban
    Terry
     

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