Slepian Smith, PLLC

Post-traumatic stress disorder doesn’t affect just veterans

It is true that many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning from combat, and we most often hear about PTSD in this context. However, you don’t have to be a veteran to suffer from PTSD.

In fact, anyone who has been through a terrifying or traumatic event can end up being diagnosed with PTSD, according to the Mayo Clinic.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

Only a doctor can diagnose PTSD, but you may be suffering from the condition if you either experienced or witnessed a traumatic event and then developed symptoms that have gotten worse instead of better over time or have lasted months or years and interfere with your day-to-day life.

Many symptoms of PTSD involve thoughts and memories that cannot be controlled, including:

  • Persistent and distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Dreams and nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe psychological and physical responses to triggers of the traumatic event

Other PTSD symptoms relate to avoidance, changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional habits such as startling easily and sleep difficulties. You can read more about symptoms of PTSD here.

To diagnose PTSD, a medical doctor will likely perform a physical and psychological examination.

How is PTSD treated?

It’s important to get professional help as soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Many people fully recover from PTSD with treatment such as therapy and/or medication. Treatment can often help PTSD sufferers regain control of their lives.

What if I can’t work because of my PTSD?

Unfortunately, for some people, PTSD is a years-long or lifelong condition that interferes with day-to-day activities, including work. When a person cannot work for a year or longer because of the disabling effects of PTSD, Social Security Disability may be available to help supplement income.

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