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Keefe Disability Law
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
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Who Is Most Likely to Suffer PTSD Symptoms Following a Traumatic Event

Hand writing PTSD on a white boardPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after an extremely traumatic event. It’s a natural instinct to react physically and emotionally to potential threats. This “fight-or-flight” response is a survival technique that heightens your awareness and helps protect you in dangereous situations. However, these feelings should naturally dissipate once the threat is gone. This isn’t the case for people living with PTSD.

Lingering Problems for PTSD Sufferers

In PTSD cases, the natural response of anxiety and fear does not end when the situation resolves itself. The feelings become linked to the event in such a way that any reminder of the incident can cause those feelings to resurface at full force. The acute anxiety brought on by the episodes, which can occur at any time, can affect the victim’s ability to function in daily life—especially as a member of the workforce. In fact, according to data from the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, people who suffer from PTSD are more likely than those who do not suffer to be:

  • Unemployed
  • Divorced or separated
  • Abused or abusive
  • Depressed
  • Fired or unable to do/keep a job

Consequently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes PTSD as a disabling condition. However, to be considered for PTSD disability benefits, you must be able to explain and prove when, how, and why your condition developed and how it affects your ability to work. 

Common Causes of PTSD

According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately eight percent of the population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. The specific cause of this disorder is unknown, and events that can trigger the condition can vary substantially. However, ongoing research into the condition has begun to show the following patterns of susceptibility:

  • Those who suffer from depression or anxiety are more likely to develop the condition than those who don’t already have a mental condition.
  • Those who live through a life-threatening or terrifying event (whether in childhood or adulthood) have an increased risk of feeling guilt and anxiety associated with the trauma.
  • Those who witness a serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, others being hurt or killed war, or violent personal assaults (such as rape) are found to suffer PTSD on a more severe level than other sufferers.
  • Those who have little or no social support after the event are more likely to develop the condition than those with a strong support system.
  • Those who must deal with extra stress or anxiety immediately following the trauma are more likely to experience PTSD. Although these individuals may have been able to overcome the effects of the event itself, additional hardships such as physical injuries or loss (death of a loved one, destruction of property) can cause the pain to linger and manifest into PTSD.
  • Those who endure concussive brain injuries during their traumatic events may actually damage brain tissue, which could make them more sensitive to suffering PTSD.

Experiencing a dangerous event isn’t the only way to develop PTSD. In fact, some people acquire PTSD as a result of a friend or family member experiencing the danger or harm. To top it all off, it has been speculated that women are more prone to develop the condition than men.

If you believe that a traumatic event has affected your ability to function as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, you may be eligible to receive disability. Contact our office today to learn more about your filing options and how to successfully convince the SSA that your condition is worthy of benefit consideration. Pick up the phone and call 508-283-5500, or click here to get started.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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