By: Charles D. Hankey

In recent years, there has been an increase in cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many of our clients have PTSD. Many more have symptoms of it, but have never been formally diagnosed.

PTSD can be caused by experiencing traumatic events such as natural disasters, war, domestic violence, sexual assault, and car crashes. PTSD can include physical symptoms such as insomnia, sleeping too much, headaches, stomach problems, and obesity. It can have cognitive symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, problems making decisions, being easily distracted, memory problems, and problems solving problems. It can also have emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, fear, guilt, numbing, anger, isolation, violent outbursts, and excessive worry. It can promote substance abuse, cause nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and flashbacks. If you have PTSD you may have difficulty around loud noises or loud voices. You may be uncomfortable in crowds, you may withdraw from friends and family, people who know you may notice personality changes. Most people being experiencing symptoms of PTSD shortly after the event that causes it, but sometimes it can take months or years to show itself. For many people a later event brings back the memories of the original event and triggers the onset of PTSD symptoms. Many people try to ignore and hide their symptoms because they are ashamed or embarrassed by them.

If this describes you, please seek treatment from a mental health practitioner. If you are diagnosed with PTSD or any other cognitive disorder, please let us know immediately, so that we can get records documenting that to help support your disability case. If your mental health practitioner would be willing to fill out a form, let us know. If you and your mental health practitioner agree that you are unable to carry out simple instructions, respond appropriately to supervision, and deal with changes in a routine work setting, those restrictions can substantially impact your ability to work, especially if they are combined with physical problems.

The addition of PTSD to your case, combined with records of treatment for it and a doctor’s statement on how it impacts your ability to function can often tip the balance between being awarded benefits and not. Please, it may be difficult for you, but if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, seek treatment and notify us immediately.