PTSD Disability Claims May Be Difficult to Prove

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by a traumatic event. According to the National Center of Mental Health, PTSD can occur when a person experiences a frightening incident where they are physically harmed or felt the threat of physical harm. It can also occur if the person witnesses a harmful incident where someone, even someone they don’t know, was seriously injured or killed.

Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the experience over and over in the form of flashbacks, frightening thoughts, or bad dreams. A PTSD sufferer may also develop “avoidance” symptoms, where they stay away from places or things that will remind them of the trauma. They may also have difficulty remembering details of the traumatic event and suffer from feelings of worry, guilt, and depression. Many people who suffer from PTSD also have trouble sleeping and are often very easily startled. They may also struggle with anger issues.

PTSD does not just affect those who have served in combat. The disorder can affect anyone who has suffered a traumatic event. Victims of childhood abuse, rape, violence, or even a traumatic natural disaster — like a fire or a hurricane — can develop PTSD. The diagnosis of PTSD is can be a difficult one. Symptoms that could totally disable one person may not have any impact on someone else.

It is because of that difficulty to diagnose PTSD, as with many other mental health illnesses, that it can be very difficult to get approval from Social Security for a disability claim. The initial claims are often rejected by the agency and the claimant is forced to file an appeal.

Some of the issues that PTSD victims struggle with include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide

Victims with PTSD can also suffer from physical conditions, including chronic pain, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Avoiding activities
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the event
  • Being easily frightened or startled
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty or inability in maintaining close relationships
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event
  • Having trouble with memory
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations

Call a Social Security Disability Attorney for Help
If you are suffering from PTSD or any other mental illness, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, many applicants find the process of applying for benefits complex and frustrating, since many are denied upon their first application.

A qualified social security disability lawyer, like a social security disability lawyer in Wise, VA, can help you present your case to Social Security and, if they still ignore you, appeal to the appropriate court. Even if you have already been denied benefits, our firm may be able to help. Contact an attorney to speak with someone about your case today.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into PTSD claims for social security benefits.