Itai, then 20, was fighting in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 when a building collapsed on him. “Itai arrived with post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and neuro-psychological impairment,” said Dr. Shiri Ben-Naim, Director of the Hadassah Hospital Neuropsychiatry Clinic.
“Before Itai was injured, he was engaged to Tamar. When he arrived at the clinic, Itai was severely depressed, suffered from flashbacks and nightmares, and would suddenly find himself lashing out in rage. How could he plan a wedding? The added guilt about changing their wedding plans only exacerbated his predicament,” said Dr. Ben-Naim.Itai’s recovery required the interdisciplinary intervention available exclusively at the Neuropsychiatry Clinic. For example, when a patient says he cannot remember how he was injured, is it because he suffers from post-traumatic amnesia or because part of his brain sustained physical damage? Together, neurologists, psychiatrists, and neuropsychologists determine the reason for his memory failure and the patient’s rehabilitation program. In Itai’s case, once the nature of the injury was determined, he was able to receive the most effective treatment.
Itai’s treatment made use of emotional, cognitive and behavioral tools. He learned how to overcome his newfound fears, reconstruct his story of the trauma, and reduce nightmares. In addition, he was given practical tools for living with a brain injury, such as sticking to a routine and using charts and planners.
After nine months of treatment at the clinic, Itai enrolled in a vocational school for computer programming. He and Tamar have set a new date for the wedding.