The American Psychological Association recognized Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a unique psychological condition in 1980, and characterized the condition as a series of symptoms brought on by a traumatic event.
Originally applied to veterans returning from combat, PTSD has since been recognized as a condition that can result from witnessing or experiencing any unusual traumatic event.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
Intrusive recollection or “flashbacks” – PTSD sufferers often experience flashbacks of the traumatic event, evoking panic, anxiety, grief, and depression. Flashbacks may be triggered by sights, sounds, smells.
Avoidance – Sufferers may avoid anything that might remind them of the traumatic event, sometimes to the extent that they become afraid to leave the house.
Altered cognition or mood – This includes placing blame on oneself for the experience, believing that one’s life has been permanently altered, and that the future holds no promise, and an overall negative worldview. Symptoms may also include depression, paranoia, anxiety, and estrangement from family and friends.
Altered behavior – Behavioral changes may include insomnia, irritability, increased vigilance, and reckless behavior. PTSD sufferers may also experience suicidal thoughts, and many attempt suicide.
PTSD in the Workplace
PTSD may occur in the workplace in two ways. First, the worker may experience PTSD after being seriously injured at work. This can be established with medical evidence from a psychologist or other mental health professional. PTSD is more difficult to prove when the worker was not physically injured, but witnessed a traumatic event, or experienced psychological trauma in some other way.
Police officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders, for example, may experience PTSD after responding to a particularly traumatic event, like a mass shooting, or a fatal automobile accident. Workers may suffer from PTSD after witnessing a particularly horrific accident in which someone was killed or badly injured. Someone may experience PTSD after being sexually harassed or assaulted by a co-worker or supervisor.
In all cases, PTSD is treated like other work-related illnesses. The worker must be able to show that the condition was caused by something that happened at work, and that the worker’s risk of developing the condition is greater than that of the public.
Call A Worker’s Compensation Attorney
If you suffer from work-related PTSD, you may find your worker’s compensation insurance carrier reluctant to pay benefits for your condition. Talk to an experienced North Carolina worker’s compensation attorney to learn your options.
The attorneys at Campbell & Associates can help if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, and you believe it is work-related. We offer free, no-commitment case evaluations, and are available at your convenience. Call us at 704-326-7243 to set up an appointment.