Traumatic events can cause post traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms can start anywhere from immediately after the event to years down the road. While many tend to think of PTSD as it relates to war veterans, the truth is that any traumatic event can lead to PTSD. You also do not need to be the person who was hurt to develop this disorder, as just watching someone else get hurt can bring on the development of PTSD.
In this post, we hope to provide some basic education on PTSD and what you can do if the condition is affecting your ability to work.
Memories that will not go away
Intrusive memories can come back any time after the event, and those suffering from PTSD find it very difficult to avoid them. Intrusive memories include flashbacks that make you feel as if you are living through the event again and upsetting nightmares or dreams about the event. Anything that is a reminder of the event can lead to not only severe emotional distress, but also even a physical reaction to the memory.
Avoidance of reminders
Those with PTSD may try to avoid people, along with activities or places that remind them of the event. While others may be thinking they are helpful by trying to talk about what happened, those with PTSD will often purposely try to avoid talking or thinking about the trauma.
Mood and thinking changes
Living through a traumatic event can lead to dark, negative moods that you did not have problems with before. These feelings can include hopelessness, problems with memory, a feeling of detachment or isolation, feeling emotionally numb and negative thoughts about the world. Many find it difficult to maintain relationships and even struggle to deal with positive emotions.
Emotional and physical reactions
PTSD does not just take a toll on your mental health; it can also affect your physical health. You may feel like you are always on guard and watching for danger and now have trouble concentrating or sleeping. Depending on the situation, it is also normal to feel overwhelming shame or guilt.
Getting the diagnosis
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, in order for diagnosis, the symptoms of PTSD must persist for at least one month. However, when this will happen ranges from person-to-person. Some people start to develop signs of PTSD shortly after the event, while for others the symptoms may not develop for years.
PTSD is a qualifying condition for disability benefits. However, even though it is a qualifying condition, this does not mean it is always easy to obtain benefits. Rather, like with any anxiety-related disorder, proving how the disorder negatively affects your ability to work may be difficult. This is where an attorney can step in though, to help review your case and get the proper documentation in order.