The consequences and causes of PTSD are gaining recognition especially as the United States Military has implemented programs to treat soldiers experiencing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Iraq and Iran. However, military personnel are not the only individuals at risk of PTSD.
The risks that police officers face in the line-of-duty have been highlighted in recent news stories across the nation. Police officers and firefighters in Minnesota are no different. They face the risk of injury and loss of life in their duties daily. These daily risks produce the types of traumatic events that can cause PTSD.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) is “a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” However, predicting when and if PTSD will develop is difficult for several reasons. First, PTSD may develop after a single event or after multiple traumatic events. Second, PTSD sometimes develops with a few months of the traumatic event or events, but may also develop years after the trauma. Third, not everyone witnessing a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs defines a traumatic event as a time when “you think that your life or other’s lives are in danger.” With any traumatic event, fear and a feeling of no control are normal. These events cause difficulty in adjusting and coping for a while, but they do not always cause PTSD. If symptoms start to worsen so that they interfere with daily functions or if symptoms last for months or even years, you may have developed PTSD.
Medical specialists identify four broad symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder:
- Reliving or re-experiencing the traumatic event or events. Reliving can occur in flashbacks, bad memories, or nightmares. Sometimes, it may feel as if you’re going through the event again.
- Avoidance. Those with PTSD stay away from places, situations, or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may avoid thinking or talking about the event with others.
- Hyperarousal. Hyperarousal is described as “feeling keyed up.” These symptoms make it hard to complete daily tasks like sleeping, eating or concentration because individuals with PTSD are overly alert and feel tense.
- Negative changes in beliefs or feelings. PTSD often causes feelings of fear, guilt, or shame. Activities or events that you may once have enjoyed are interesting. You may feel hopeless about the future or emotionally numb.
The way Post-traumatic Stress Disorder impacts an individual depends on many factors. Your experience with PTSD may not be the same as others. Additional warning signs to look out for include: self-destructive behavior, irritability, aggressiveness, angry outbursts, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, or being easily startled or frightened. It is important to know that the intensity of these symptoms can vary over time. When you are stressed or when you encounter reminders of the event or events, the symptoms may become more severe.
Like any injury, PTSD takes time to heal and requires the help of trained medical professionals. Meuser Law Office, P.A. can offer some peace-of-mind during your PTSD treatment. If you develop PTSD as a result of an exposure to traumatic events during the course and scope of your public employment in Minnesota, then you may be eligible for benefits worth potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Meuser Law Office, P.A. has successfully secured disability benefits and workers’ compensation on behalf of a number of individuals suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of in the line-of-duty psychological trauma. For a free, no-obligation legal consultation to learn about your rights, call Meuser Law Office, P.A. at 877-746-5680 and let our experienced attorneys help you.