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Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

By March 19, 2014 VA Disability

Buffalo, NY – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects at least 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This is according to a study performed by the RAND Corporation, The Congressional Research Service, the Veterans Administration (VA), and the U.S. Surgeon General.

The study also found that 50 percent of veterans do not seek treatment for PTSD.

“PTSD is a significant problem faced by our veterans,” Jeffrey Freedman, Managing Attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC stated. “Service-connected PTSD makes a veteran eligible for VA disability benefits. A veteran with PTSD can qualify for a monthly check to help with living and medical expenses.”

Veterans may have trouble recognizing the signs and symptoms of PTSD. The National Center for PTSD recommends seeking treatment when symptoms:

  • Last more than three months
  • Cause great distress
  • Disrupt home or work life

There are four types of symptoms commonly found in veterans who suffer from PTSD:

  1. Reliving the traumatic event (through nightmares and flashbacks)
  2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
  3. Experience negative changes in beliefs or feelings
  4. Feeling “keyed up” or jittery (also called hyperarousal)

In addition, veterans with PTSD may experience trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and may be startled by loud noises. A counselor we spoke with from the VA also indicated that veterans with PTSD often suffer from alcohol and substance abuse problems in order to mask the symptoms of PTSD.

“Veterans who think they may have PTSD should seek help from a qualified mental health professional,” Freedman added. “They should also consider applying for VA disability benefits. If you’ve served your country, you are entitled to a monthly benefit designed to assist with your service-connected disability.”

The Center for PTSD recommends seeking treatment if symptoms last more than four weeks, cause great distress, or disrupt home and/or work life. Although symptoms typically occur soon after the traumatic event, there are instances where symptoms show up months or years later.