Avoiding people, situations, or experiences that may trigger symptoms is common among Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, avoiding a problem doesn’t make it go away. By applying for VA disability benefits and gaining access to the treatment you need, you can learn how to make the most of each day.
Examples of PTSD Avoidance
Everyone’s experience is different, but some things that Veterans may avoid due to PTSD include:
- News stories about war or serving in the military
- Guns or other weapons
- Loud noises, such as fireworks displays
- Crowded places with no readily identifiable exit
- People they served with
- Smells that remind them of their service, such as the smell of fire or diesel fuel
Avoidance is common because it’s effective in the short term. If you know that crowds are upsetting, for example, it’s easy enough to avoid crowded places. Unfortunately, over time this reinforces your fear and creates new consequences such as causing you to miss out on employment opportunities or special moments with family and friends.
Treating PTSD in Veterans involves minimizing avoidance behaviors by practicing exposure in a controlled, safe environment with someone they can trust. Veterans are asked to list their personal triggers and rank them in order of least to most frightening. Then, they work towards confronting situations that trigger PTSD symptoms while practicing various anxiety-reduction coping techniques.
Finding a Way to Move Forward
PTSD is a serious mental health disorder. You can get better, but you need access to treatment. Applying for VA disability benefits for your service-connected PTSD and any secondary-service connected conditions such as migraines, panic disorder, or sleep apnea can provide you with access to medical care as well as monthly cash compensation.
There are three requirements to receive VA disability benefits for PTSD:
- Be diagnosed with PTSD by a qualified healthcare provider
- Provide an account of the traumatic event that you believe triggered your PTSD
- Submit an opinion from a psychologist or psychiatrist that your stressor was significant enough to result in PTSD
In the most severe cases, Veterans with PTSD may qualify for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). Applications for VA disability benefits are often denied due to misinterpretations of the law, but you shouldn’t give up. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss how we can help you access the benefits you need and deserve.