Errors in diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder after traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2001 Jan;15(1):39-46. doi: 10.1080/02699050118030.


Evidence to support the view that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after traumatic brain injury (TBI) continues to grow. However, the reported incidence of cases with both diagnoses ranges widely, from less than 1% to more than 50%. Given that the incidence of TBI is high, a more precise incidence has to be established if screening and treatment resources are to be considered. Are cases being missed or are they over-diagnosed? The single case report presented here does not definitively answer this question, but illustrates the potential shortcomings of diagnosing PTSD using questionnaire measures alone (Impact of Events Scale, Post-traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale and General Health Questionnaire) and indicates a need for a conjoint interview which takes into account the common effects of TBI and the symptom overlap between PTSD and TBI.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology