June is National PTSD Awareness Month, and we feel it is critical to help raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and promote resources to help those suffering from this condition.
Many people suffer lasting trauma from horrific events, such as observing or being a victim of violence, serving in combat or during wartime, or being exposed to traumatic or life-altering experiences. And, chances are, you know someone in your Michigan community who is directly or indirectly impacted by PTSD.
Michigan disability attorneys, in partnership with government and mental health agencies, champion PTSD Awareness Month as an opportunity to end the longstanding stigma surrounding this mental health condition, and connect those suffering with PTSD to community support and treatments that support healing and a better quality of life.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition occurring after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. People living with PTSD may include victims of natural disasters, sexual molestation and assault, and wartime or criminal violence.
Who Is Susceptible to PTSD?
While everyone may be susceptible to developing PTSD, proven indicators suggest that some are more vulnerable than others to the condition. For example, the following factors have been shown to play a role in PTSD:
- Prolonged stress
- Lack of coping mechanisms
- Social isolation
- Family history of depression
- Prior history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- History of substance abuse
Understanding the factors that predispose a person to PTSD is essential to diagnose the condition and prescribe effective treatment.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD are variable and manifest differently depending on the person afflicted. Sufferers may exhibit one or multiple symptoms, and young children often display different signs than teenagers and adults.
Common symptoms of PTSD in children, teens, and adults:
- Increased anger and anxiety
- Nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- Flashbacks or unwanted memories of the event
- Self-alienation or avoidance behaviors
- Uncontrollable negative thoughts
- General malaise
Additional symptoms in young children:
- Recreating the event through actions or drawings
- Selective mutism
Most sufferers begin to experience PTSD symptoms within a few months of the inducing trauma, though for some, symptoms may take years to develop. And because many physical symptoms of PTSD, such as headaches, dizziness, and chest pain, mimic other medical conditions, diagnosing PTSD can be difficult.
Healing Those Who Suffer from PTSD
The first step in healing sufferers of PTSD is confirming the diagnosis. If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms that may indicate PTSD, it is vital to schedule an appointment or assessment with a trained professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. During the evaluation, doctors will ask about past trauma and how current symptoms are interfering with normal life.
Victims should be reminded that a PTSD diagnosis is no cause for embarrassment or shame, but is rather an opportunity to receive desperately needed treatment for healing and recovery.
Special Care for Veterans Suffering PTSD
If you are a Veteran with PTSD, whose trauma occurred during your service, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Your PTSD must be linked to a trauma that happened during your service, and your symptoms must be shown to interfere with your ability to function as well as you could previously.
Disability benefits may include:
- health care benefits
- PTSD treatment
- financial compensation
To receive VA benefits for PTSD, you will need to complete several forms and a statement supporting your claim. It is wise to seek the help of a Michigan disability lawyer to help determine your eligibility to file a claim and navigate the claims process.
Additionally, there are other forms of government benefits that may be available for people who experience severe health conditions, such as PTSD. Social Security Disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income payments, and other federal disability programs may be available for people who have difficulty working full-time due to their condition. In fact, children may even be eligible for Supplemental Security Income or SSI if they experience severe PTSD, or other medical impairments.
How A Michigan Disability Lawyer Can Help
Filing for any government benefits program is a complex and lengthy process. Accuracy in completing forms and meeting filing restrictions can feel overwhelming, particularly when you aren’t feeling well from PTSD.
You can hire an experienced Michigan disability attorney to help you navigate the constantly evolving and complex VA regulations and avoid costly mistakes that might risk your VA benefits. Contact our office today for your free consultation.