What you should know about PTSD and workers' comp

People who work in stressful and threatening occupations may develop post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of their working environment. Posttraumatic stress disorder often effects people who have witnessed or been through a traumatic event, such as a serious accident, war or combat, criminal act, rape, assault, terrorist act or a natural disaster. People who are forced to encounter these situations while on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

PTSD causes people to relive the traumatic experience that caused the disorder in the first place, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Patients with this disorder may have nightmares about the event or have intense disturbing thoughts regarding the incident at random times throughout the day. In some cases, a word, sound or touch may trigger the patient to have these overwhelming feelings that are tied to the original event. This emotional trauma could make it difficult for people to work on a daily basis, engage in certain hobbies or interact with other people on a personal level. Depending on the situation, PTSD could last for months or even years before the person begins to find relief from their traumatic thoughts.

Depending on how the worker developed PTSD, he or she may receive workers’ compensation under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. When people begin to identify the signs of PTSD, they should alert their employer, who can help them set up an appointment with a medical professional.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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