PTSD Disability

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How Long It Takes to Recover From PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying or traumatic event. People with this condition often experience negative and disturbing thoughts. These thoughts may remain in the mind of the individual for years, even after the traumatic event. Counseling and relaxation techniques often help in coping with the condition. 

The condition may disrupt the everyday activities and functioning of the brain. Its symptoms can be categorized into the following four groups: 

  • Avoidance – An individual may tend to avoid the places, people, and situations that may remind them of the traumatic event. 
  • Cognition and mood – An individual may develop negative thoughts and feelings of guilt or blame. 
  • Intrusion – The unpleasant memories may lead to nightmares and may affect the mental state of the individual. 
  • Arousal and reactivity – The individual suffering may have difficulty concentrating and may have a constant feeling of being on edge. 

Long term effects of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder may have a long term effect on a patient’s life and overall health. The following are some of the common long term effects:

  1. Anxiety

People struggling with this condition often experience intense emotions of pain, fear, and nervousness. At times, an individual may even feel they are in danger and act aggressively toward others. Many people rely on destructive coping mechanisms such as drug or alcohol abuse to deal with the condition. It can result in anxiety and serious complications that impact the mental and physical strength of an individual.

  1.  Social withdrawal

People often avoid socializing with family and friends. They may refuse to participate and engage in social gatherings. This behavior may increase feelings of insecurity and helplessness. It can impact an individual’s ability to live and socialize with others.  

  1.   Insomnia and sleep disturbances

You may experience difficulty sleeping because of horrifying nightmares. The traumatic event may affect the ability to rest and sleep well. In severe cases, long term sleep disturbance can even lead to insomnia. The lack of sleep increases the risk of additional health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and healthy weight maintenance.

  1.  Shame or guilt

After experiencing a traumatic event, an individual may feel ashamed, or they may blame themselves for the traumatic event. This can further lead to serious mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. They may believe that they could have done things differently or in a way that would have resulted in a different outcome. 

  1.  Chronic pain

Events such as vehicle accidents, physical or sexual assault, psychological abuse, or a natural disaster may lead to severe illnesses. An individual may encounter chronic pain after such accidents. The unexpected pain may remind the person of the traumatic event. It can make the symptoms even worse and may deteriorate the mental health of the individual.

Is PTSD a disability? 

Many people dealing with serious episodes of nightmares and anxiety often experience difficulties in their day-to-day lives, as well. The Social Security Administration (SSA) added PTSD as a disabling condition in the year 2017. It is covered under disability listing 12.15 the SSA’s Blue Book, related to trauma and stress disorders. 

ptsd disabilityMedical professionals and studies suggest that PTSD is critical and can be difficult to treat. There are high chances that the symptoms will return, and the person will experience trauma or stress at different stages of life. It is often recommended to reach out to a medical professional as soon as you experience symptoms. Professional support can help a patient and may lead to recovery. 

It has been found that some people recover within six months, whereas some people experience symptoms for longer. People who face disabling conditions for less than a year can explore short term disability plans.

It is possible for patients living with this ailment to experience symptoms and also live a healthy life. With the help of medical care and effective therapy, patients may feel better and be able to manage normal activities of daily living. Anyone struggling with the condition should adopt a healthy lifestyle and reach out to friends or support groups for help. 

In exceptional cases, however, where an individual may experience serious episodes of nightmares, anxiety, and depression, it may be disabling and affect the ability of the person to support themselves. Continue reading to understand the steps you should take if you or your loved one suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. 

Will PTSD qualify for disability benefits? 

The condition has been listed in the Blue Book, which may make it easier to be approved because SSA recognizes the diagnosis as a disabling condition. You must still, however, meet the eligibility requirements to establish entitlement to disability benefits. Alternatively, you can seek benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. A medical-vocational allowance is a type of approval that considers the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) of an individual, including job history, age, education, and training, etc. The SSA will analyze your ability to perform and function in different capacities despite having the condition. 

To be approved, you must show that you have severe or extreme limitations in the following areas:

  • Adapting to change
  • Managing oneself 
  • Unable to practice personal skills such as cooking, cleaning, wearing appropriate attire
  • Difficulty in interacting and socializing with others 
  • Lack of concentration and inability to finish work
  • Difficulties in learning, understanding, and remembering information
  • Unable to follow and grasp new instructions

If you are not experiencing any extreme or severe limitations in the above areas, you can provide documents to support the following. They could help you to receive approval of disability benefits: 

  • Your condition has been persistent for at least two years
  • You are undergoing ongoing medical treatment
  • Mental health therapy is not helping to improve the condition 
  • You have the minimum capacity to adapt to new changes 

Obtaining benefits for PTSD

You can get disability benefits when you have medical evidence that meets the eligibility criteria listed in the Blue Book. 

To get approved for Disability Benefits after 50, or even before, your condition must be severe enough and should limit your abilities. Additionally, you must have medical documents and evidence to prove the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of treatment. 

Documents should include psychiatric treatment, doctor or clinical notes, physical examinations, and medical diagnoses reports. Brain scans and X-ray images should also be included to support the disability benefits application.

Without medical evidence, it is unlikely that SSA will approve your application. You must have documents to prove that the trauma of the event still affects your ability to function normally and maintain gainful employment. The documents must demonstrate how symptoms lead to disturbances in mood and behavior. All the related symptoms and medical conditions, such as sleep disturbance and depressionshould be included in the application.

Contact a disability attorney to learn more about how PTSD can qualify for disability benefits. An attorney can evaluate your case and explain every detail about the process. The legal process becomes a comfortable journey with legal professionals by your side.