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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Osterhout Berger Daley > Disabling Conditions > Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a condition that can make everyday living difficult. It can also make holding a job challenging as many people with PTSD have somewhat frequent attacks triggered by sensory stimulation from the surrounding areas. For people who are looking for ways to cope, they might decide that they need to seek Social Security benefits. Whenever someone is trying to get Social Security benefits, they should know that having a qualified attorney who is knowledgeable about the process will greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll receive the benefits that they need. We’re here to help people through every step of applying for disability benefits for PTSD.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that arises from periods of great stress. While the condition is often associated with people who have been in war, the condition can actually happen to anyone who has undergone a period of extreme stress.

While war is one common event that often incites PTSD, there are many types of events that can be the original event that triggers PTSD. For instance, some people with PTSD might have experienced domestic violence, a house fire, sexual assault, a natural disaster, or any number of other traumatic events.

With many people, the symptoms will fade as the person gets further away from the original incident. Typically, the amount of time between the initial episode and the first flashback can be anywhere between one month to several years. If the flashbacks and other symptoms last for several months or even years, it’s very likely that the person has PTSD.

Generally speaking, getting treatment early is important to working through the traumatic event before it actually becomes an ingrained routine within a person’s memory.

Even though the length of time that a person might experience a flashback or other symptom can vary according to the particular individual, the flashbacks and other symptoms usually cause significant hardship at work and in personal relationships. Because of this, it’s very common for people with PTSD to need some types of work accommodations or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Symptoms of PTSD

People who have not yet been diagnosed might be wondering what they need to know about PTSD before they actually get evaluated by a medical doctor. Knowing the symptoms of PTSD can dramatically improve the likelihood that the applicant know how to describe their symptoms.

One of the most common symptoms includes flashbacks to the events when there is a triggering event in the present environment, but most of the orders are broken down into one of four sub-types of symptoms.

One of the most common categories of symptoms are recurrent, intrusive thoughts. When a person is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, they might have flashback, nightmares, intrusive thoughts that they can’t control in which they remember the event again and again, and negative feelings about things that remind the person of the event.

If someone starts avoiding the memories, they’ll usually do it in one or both of two ways. First of all, they might do everything they can to not talk about or think about the event. Secondly, they might also decide to avoid the place where it happened or places that are similar to where it happened.

Changes in thinking and mood that are negative will often arise. Some of the most common symptoms include losing interest in talking to loved ones and doing favorite activities, hopelessness, inability to connect with friends and family and an overall sense of being numb, memory difficulties, and problems experiencing positive feelings.

Finally, some people also experience a change in emotional and physical reactions. For instance, some people might be constantly on guard or easily frightened. They might also have difficulties sleeping, have angry outbursts or feelings of guilt, have difficulty concentrating, and engage in self-destructive behavior.

Treatments for PTSD

Getting treatment for PTSD sooner rather than later is always preferable because it’s easier to learn new coping strategies, and there’s less opportunity for negative thought patterns to take root. There are two basic ways that doctors treat people with PTSD; they either use therapies or medications, or they use a combination of the two. There are a few types of therapies that they use.

The first one is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a type of therapy in which the therapist talks with the patient to try to change negative thoughts. In these sessions, the therapist talks to the patient to try to switch out negative thought patterns with positive ones and change destructive behaviors.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a type of therapy in which the stress of the traumatic events is reduced through systematic eye movements. It’s a fairly new technique in which the therapist uses finger movements as an object that the patient can follow while recalling traumatic events. Over time, the person should become desensitized to the events, making them more able to handle the stress of the traumatic event.

Usually, a person who is receiving medication for a PTSD is receiving some form of an SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Essentially, this type of drug is used to level out moods and reduce the amount of anxiety and depression a person feels. Some well-known types of SSRIs include fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, and paroxetine.

Disability Benefits for PTSD

When someone decides that it’s time to get benefits for their PTSD, it can be a scary move because they might not know what kinds of benefits they’re entitled to with their current insurance and the condition that they have. People who are looking for disability insurance should first check the criteria that they must meet. They should also consider what kinds of documentation will be required to give evidence to the disability.

There are two ways that a person with PTSD can get disability insurance; they either need to meet the criteria outlined in the Blue Book or qualify for medical vocation allowance. To meet the criteria in the Blue Book, there’s a list of things that a person must check through.

There’s a list of criteria that the applicant must meet, and in the first set, the applicant must meet at least one of the following: recalling a traumatic event, have recurring obsessions, have an irrational fear of a place or object and try to avoid it, have panic attacks at least once a week, or persistent anxiety with one of several physical symptoms.

In addition to meeting at least one of the above criteria, an applicant must also either have medical records that show that they’re completely incapable of functioning outside of the home or meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Be markedly restricted in everyday activities
  • Have marked difficulties in social functioning
  • Have marked difficulties keeping pace or maintaining focus
  • Have worsening psychiatric symptoms

Maintaining and compiling ongoing medical records is also key.

How We Can Help

There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Daley can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…

If you are facing one of these situations due to PTSD, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.

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    Learn more about Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability Insurance, as well as appealing denials and how an attorney can help. These resources will cover the basics: