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Head Injury and Early Adrenal Insufficiency Symptoms

Is there a rash and swallowing problems associated with phyiscal/head trauma, that in turn can be associated with early adrenal insufficiency. A late onset of traumatic brain injury (mild-moderate) has also been diagnosed.  I am now retracing some of my early symptoms, that may have been a clue to beginning adrenal problems.   My adrenal levels weren't taken, at time of injury, until debilitating fatigue stopped me from working.  My cortisol level tested at half of a 90 yr. old woman's level.

I understand that PTSD (DSM IV) can ensue from an accident like mine.  But, my argument is that adrenal insufficiency preceded PTSD and not that PTSD led to adrenal insufficiency.  What do you think?
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Avatar universal
Are you saying that you have symptoms of PTSD, and you believe it was triggered, or caused by adrenal insufficiency that is the result of head trauma?
I do believe that traumatic stress can be a result of existing adrenal insufficiency. My son had a lot of stress, prior to being diagnosed with secondary adrenal insufficiency ( as a result of a pituitary cyst ). He has been on hydrocortisone for almost 2 years, and rarely feels the type of stress he had before the diagnosis.

It is interesting to me that my son was also hit on the head, accidently, with a golf club, about 4 months before he started having severe light sensitivity and what I now know were symptoms of adrenal insufficiency ( this was two years before his pituitary diagnosis). However, nothing was seen on his MRI to indicate that he had ever had a head injury. (he never lost consciousness, just had a small goose egg for awhile).

Anyway, I agree that it is possible.

Avatar universal
Regarding your son, you can have a mild traumatic brain injury, that causes havoc, without losing consciousness.  MRI's are notably poor in diagnosis and many health professionals miss it.  There exists alot of information about HPA axis function (hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal) and head injury.  Of interest to you, especially hypopituitary problems. There's enormous controversy surrounding head injuries, especially closed head and tbi's that have little visible injury. I maintain that my low cortisol levels were a red flagg to insufficiency resulting from head injury.  My thesis, is that head injuries can go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for "just"ptsd (DSM IV) emotional disorder. Cortisol treatment and its evaluation is also gaining attention given the soldiers who are returning with head injurys, ptsd and low cortisol levels.  The New York Times front page (1-08-09) reveals just the tip of the ice berg. Go on line to read.   It hinted that while the military doesn't recognize ptsd as a physical problem vs a mental health problem, it reflects that it just not me that has alot of questions.  Many soldiers being labled with DSM IV diagnoses (PTSD) may be recieving psychoactive drugs, that furthers their declince and further obscures a correct diagnosis.  I will get well, even if I have to take a whole platoon with me. If you have resources that may help, please contact me.  Thanks for your story.
Avatar universal
  Personally, I think mental problems ARE physical problems, caused by neurotransmitter and other chemical imbalances, which are triggered by stress. There is a physical imbalance of some kind at the core of mental illnesses. I have no medical training, just my thoughts.
Avatar universal
Your son was lucky, with your help.  He was vulnerable to a diagnosis of anxiety and or depression, if you want to follow the neurotransmiter/chemical imbalance theory.  The pituitary cyst would have gone undiagnosed and SSRI's or tryciclics, a popular psychiatric treatment, would have been prescribed, followed by a worsening debility.  Professional journals are now recognizing this.  It depends which professional journal, endocrinolgy or psychiatric.  I almost got buried in the wasteland of psychotropic medication, when in fact, I needed hormonal treatment.  Professionally, I worked with adolescents for almost 30 yrs. and it opens up a plethora of diagnostic and treatment questions.  I have much to learn!

Your son's example is very interstesting.  How was your son's condition diagnosed?
Avatar universal
Yes, you are right about doctors leaning toward a diagnosis of anxiety, and prescribing anti- depressants and anti- psychotic drugs, instead of pursuing a case for other physical causes. I encountered this very early in my son's "journey through hell", but I knew there HAD to be an underlying physical cause for his behavior, so i waived the drug recommendations.

Oh gosh. How was my son diagnosed?  Do you want the short answer, or the whole, long  painful story!  I'm happy to tell you the whole thing, if you're really interested. It is a wonder, when I think about it, how it all came about.

But the short answer is, I am a mother, with a strong instinct to protect her "cub". I sat at the computer (thank God for the internet!) for months, researching symptoms and medical papers, reading, reading ,reading. Then, doctor after doctor, with almost no help. Finally, I guessed what might be the cause of his illness, so I sort of diagnosed him myself, with the help of a very concerned endocrinologist.

Perhaps, if you want the whole story, I should pm you, so I don't take up this whole thread!  My son is 13 years old and still has many problems (partly i think, because he won't comply with some of his treatment), but I am hopeful we will get through this without too much lasting trauma (both mental and physical).

Oh, and his sweet guinea pig just died unexpectedly. My poor boy!

Avatar universal
Without any hesitation, I would like to talk with you or what's this "pm" me?  Given my severe debiblity, advocating for myself has been very difficult, as I live alone and have no family in Minnesota.  It's been over 5 yrs., since my bicycle accident, and doctors have been brutal to me, some dear friends have left, and I lost my career of 30 yrs. in social services.  

Cognitively I have improved, on good days, but I am sure I have a mild-moderate traumatic brain injury that's resulted in hypopituitarism...with more than one hormanal problem. In 2005 my osteopath discovered I had very, very low adrenals.  But, no one saw the connection between head trauma and endocrine system problem.  This past week or so I decided to dig even though years ago I suggested seeing an endocrinologist but was told there wasn't any good ones in the midwest. I excitedly shared your story.  

YES, I'd like to hear your story fully, learn about your doctor, and of the best diagnostic tests.  I went to Mayo Clinic, 12-04 and  they questioned why I was there and didn't believe my fatigue.  The recommended 3 weeks of daily/3hrs. p.t. I went home and collapsed for 8 months and then tried work again, only to collapse again.  My resignation goes in next month.

Thanks for sharing.  Can you help?  A doctor's name, advice on diagnostic tests and..... more about the wealth of your experience.  You saved your son's future!  There's a story hear!

Avatar universal
  I haven't saved it yet, but i am hopeful. Have you had an MRI of your pituitary recently, or ever? You will possibly have to travel some distance to get good care. I understand there is a good pituitary doctor in Philadelphia. I will try to find some information for you, and relate my story tomorrow. I afraid I'm just too tired to think about it all tonight.
   Are you taking replacement hormones for your hypopituitarism; hydrocortisone, Thyroxine, growth hormone, vasopressin, anything? You must see an endocrinologist for testing if you have hypopituitarism. Any endocrinologist is a place to start, then look for a better one if you're not happy with your treatment.

Hang on. There's lots to hope for here.

Avatar universal
Okay, look foward to hearing from you!

I think I'll go to the best dr., without considering travel stress.  The clock is running.

I'll have to pack good pajamas, for public if, things get excaberated.  A real fear of hitting


Thank you!!
Avatar universal
  I sent you a message with some doctors names and locations. I want to add the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview to the list. The phone number is 273-3000. Ask if there is an endocrinology department. I hope they can help.
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