Post-traumatic stress disorder, often abbreviated as PTSD, is one of the most common psychological disorders that veterans face after they come home. Unfortunately, people who suffer from PTSD often have difficulty getting the help they need due to problems getting their condition diagnosed. That is why the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) is working to strengthen the claims process for veterans suffering from PTSD, which may make it easier for them to obtain disability benefits.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological condition caused by exposure to a terrifying event. While it most commonly occurs to people who experience the terrifying event themselves, even simply witnessing a traumatic event can potentially result in PTSD. Common events that result in PTSD can include:
- Acts of violence
- Serious accidents
- War or combat
- Natural disasters
- Sexual assault
What Are the Symptoms?
PTSD can take many possible forms, but is typically marked by a few common symptoms. First, people who suffer from PTSD often suffer intrusive thoughts related to their trauma, usually in the form of flashbacks or nightmares. They may react negatively to anything that reminds them of their trauma, and will tend to avoid people, places, things, or even topics of discussion that might cause them to think about the traumatic event.
In addition, PTSD sufferers will often experience severe psychological distress and a drop in mood, similar to depression. It can result in feeling detached from friends and family, and can result in changes to eating or sleeping habits. Also, people with PTSD tend to become easily startled or frightened, and may have sudden emotional outbursts. Sufferers also often struggle with feelings of guilt or shame, and may engage in self-destructive behavior.
Why Do Veterans Struggle So Much With PTSD?
Veterans deal with PTSD on a much more frequent basis compared to the regular population due to constant exposure to traumatic events. This includes a high risk of being involved in combat, but also a constant risk of needing to deal with terrorist attacks or natural disasters. In addition, a shocking number of veterans are the victims of sexual assault, often at the hands of their own fellow soldiers.
How Common is PTSD in Veterans?
Ona major study of around 60,000 veterans estimated that 13.5% of veterans suffer from PTSD. However, other studies indicate that number may be low, with as many as 20 to 30% of veterans potentially suffering from the disorder. This disparity is caused partly by issues with properly diagnosing the disorder, which is often misattributed to other mood or anxiety disorders. The changes being implemented by the VA hope to address this problem, allowing more veterans to seek help for their traumatic experiences.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.