Now, more than ever before, do we realize that not all injuries and medical conditions are visible. The last half century has seen a rise in our awareness of invisible disabilities and mental illness, and the understanding that they can be just as debilitating as physical problems, despite not being as obvious.
Just like physical injuries, mental afflictions can invade every aspect of our day to day lives, from the time we spend with our friends and family to our ability to work. A common mental condition that can have a profound effect on the capability of the patient to enjoy a fulfilling and active life is PTSD.
What is PTSD?
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious mental health problem that most often develops after an individual has experienced or witnessed a highly traumatic, life-threatening event.
Most people assume that PTSD is only diagnosed in veterans, who have experienced distress while serving in one of the armed forces. However, it can happen to anyone of any age, although there are a number of factors that can make someone more likely to suffer from PTSD after an event. People who have been subjected to traumas, including sexual assault or a long-term event, such as a hostage situation are more often diagnosed with the condition.
What happens after the traumatic event can also affect whether or not the person develops PTSD. High stress and lack of social interaction can often make it more likely. It is also important to recognize that PTSD can develop after events including a natural disaster, a car crash, a burglary, or break in.
Effects of PTSD
PTSD is known for inciting four different types of behavior in the person it is affecting. However, each person is unique so exactly what symptoms you experience can vary. These four behaviors are:
- Hyperarousal – you are always alert for danger, feel jittery and anxious and have problems concentrating on a single task. You might also startle easily and suffer from mood swings.
- Negativity – often characterized as depression, since you tend to lose interest in activities that you used to enjoy and struggle to feel happy. You may feel that you can’t trust those around you and the way you feel about them and yourself changes.
- Flashbacks – also known as reliving the experience, you have nightmares and realistic memories about going through the trauma over and over again.
- Avoidance – sometimes the only way a PTSD patient can cope is to avoid any reminder of the traumatic experience. This can mean avoiding certain people, television shows, even going out during certain times of the day. Patients who experience PTSD after being involved in car crash may be unable to ride in or drive a car.
PTSD and Worker’s Compensation
Some occupations are very dangerous, and this means that people doing those jobs are more likely to be involved in an event or experience that could cause them to develop PTSD. Some good examples of this include police, firefighters, EMT’s and other types of first responders.
If you experience a traumatic event in the line of your employment, you may find that your mental health is severely affected. You may find it impossible to return to your job or need to take considerable time off for counseling or other mental health support. This could mean lost wages and expensive therapy bills.
Worker’s compensation is often thought of as only being accessible to those employees who have suffered a physical injury. In the past, any worker who suffered from PTSD also had to show that they had sustained a physical injury that required medical attention in the line of employment to be eligible to claim for worker’s compensation.
However, a new law has come into effect that recognizes PTSD as a compensable occupational disease, if it has resulted from a first responder acting within the course and scope of their employment. Eleven specifically described traumatic events are listed in the statute that qualify for coverage.
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of a traumatic experience at work, you could be entitled to compensation. Let us take the stress and strain out of the claim process, so that you can focus on what is important – your recovery. Call the Law Office of Frank M. Eidson today for a no-obligation consultation at 407-410-4316.