VETERANS BENEFITS FOR PTSD
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or other’s lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.
PTSD is a disability that you can service connect through VA Disability Compensation. However, in order to service connect on PTSD; you must have a diagnosis by a doctor. It is important to note that this diagnosis does not have to be administered by a Veterans Affairs doctor. A diagnosis from any doctor will suffice.
PTSD is a disorder that the VA can grant a Veteran between zero and one hundred percent for service-connected compensation. Unlike some issues that peak at ten percent, or thirty percent, a Veteran can get service-connected compensation up to one hundred percent for PTSD.
The VA can grant a Veteran service-connected compensation in the following percentages:
A mental condition has been totally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough to either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication.
Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication.
Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events).
Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and producing due to such symptoms as: flattened affect, circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech, panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short-and long-term memory (e.g. retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgement, impaired abstract thinking, disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.
Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgement thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities, speech intermittently illogical, obscure or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence), spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene, difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work like setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.
Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as gross impairment in thought processes or communication, persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place, memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name.
From The National Center For PTSD
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. Most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.
If it has been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.
Who Develops PTSD?
Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under the person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.
Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.
What Are The Symptoms Of PTSD?
PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. It the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.
There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be exactly the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.
1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms). Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place. For example:
- You may have nightmares.
- You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
- You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are an example of triggers.
2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. For example:
- You may avoid crowds because they feel dangerous.
- You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
- You may keep very busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think or talk about the event.
3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings. The way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma. The symptom has many aspects, including the following:
- You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
- You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
- You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
4. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal). You may be jittery or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. This is known as hyperarousal. For example:
- You may have a hard time sleeping.
- You may have trouble concentrating.
- You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
- You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.
Will People With PTSD Get Better?
After a traumatic event, it’s normal to think, act, and feel differently than usual – but most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. Talk to a doctor or mental health care provider (like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker) if your symptoms:
- Last longer than a few months
- Are very upsetting
- Disrupt your daily life
“Getting better” means different things for different people. There are many different treatment options for PTSD. For many people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don’t have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.
There are two main types of treatment, psychotherapy (sometimes called counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes people combine psychotherapy and medication.
Psychotherapy For PTSD
Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist.
Trauma-focused psychotherapy, which focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, is the most effective treatment for PTSD. There are different types of trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as:
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings. Changing how you think about the trauma can change how you feel.
- Prolonged Exposure (PE) where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. This will help you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. You also go to places or do things that are safe, but that you have been staying away from because they remind you of the trauma.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which involves focusing on sounds or hand movements while you talk about the trauma. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories.
Medications For PTSD
Medications can be effective too. Some specific SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), which are used for depression, also work for PTSD. These include sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine