Veterans and others who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may experience long-term effects from the chronic condition. Untreated PTSD can be detrimental for the veteran and their loved ones. PTSD is unlikely to resolve on its own and can cause additional symptoms, as well as create quality-of-life issues for the veteran and their family.
In many cases, these veterans have high care costs and are undergoing treatment for physical problems such as high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, or chronic pain that may be linked to their PTSD.
Untreated PTSD Makes Life More Difficult Than It Has to Be for Veterans and Their Families
PTSD is one of the most common disabilities that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan receive disability ratings for. While PTSD can be difficult to treat, when left untreated, the mental health condition can cause significant psychological, physical, and social issues.
Not only are veterans with PTSD at risk of suffering emotionally, but the condition puts them at an increased risk for several life-threatening conditions. These conditions may include:
- Type-II diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Elevated heart rate
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain
- Substance abuse disorders
Veterans with untreated PTSD are also at a higher risk of committing suicide and having lower life expectancy. If you believe you or a family member may have PTSD, or if you have a diagnosis but have not undergone treatment, you may want to talk to your doctor about treatment.
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Treating PTSD in Veterans
Interventions and treatment, even when it is not successful in eliminating PTSD, can help control symptoms and prevent long-term psychological and physical health consequences. This is important because repeated trauma from stressors over a sustained period of time—the kind many veterans experience in combat—can be more difficult to treat than other types of PTSD.
According to VA, trauma-focused psychotherapies are the most recommended treatment for military veterans exposed to repeated horrific, life-threatening events. This type of treatment requires the veteran to focus on the trauma, discuss it, and work through those memories using various techniques guided by a therapist. Other types of treatment for PTSD may include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
- Prolonged exposure therapy (PE)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of medication
Your doctor may recommend using several of these methods together with SSRIs to create a trauma-focused plan that can allow you to manage the effects of your PTSD.
Your PTSD Diagnosis May Qualify You for VA Disability Benefits
You could qualify for VA disability benefits if your PTSD is due to or aggravated by an in-service event.
How Your Attorney Will Lead Your Pursuit of Fair Benefits
Your VA disability lawyer can lead your case for VA disability benefits. They can help with the decision review process related to your PTSD benefits. The responsibilities of your attorney may include:
Getting a Formal Diagnosis for Your PTSD
If you have yet to receive a formal diagnosis for your PTSD, your attorney could help you get the care you need. The lawyer may know of PTSD-focused professionals in your geographic region. Once you receive a diagnosis and treatment, your attorney can obtain useful documentation that supports your claim.
Preserving Claim-Related Evidence
Your lawyer will need to prove that your PTSD is service-connected. They may do so by obtaining service records, getting testimony from your doctors, and securing other types of evidence. Your lawyer will organize and preserve evidence, eventually submitting it to VA officials.
Defending Your Rights
Unfortunately, VA representatives do not always act in a veteran’s best interests. VA doctors and administrators may try to use your words or actions against you or act with other types of bad faith. Your attorney will protect your rights throughout the duration of the decision review process.
Hiring Experts Who Can Help With Your Case
Experts can be critical to a PTSD-related decision review process, especially if VA doctors contest your condition. Law firms generally provide experts at no up front cost to you.
Your attorney won’t just help with the decision review process—they will lead it. They may only ask you to participate when absolutely necessary, such as when you must undergo medical evaluation. Otherwise, your attorney will handle your VA disability benefits case so you can get treatment for your PTSD.
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What Your Lawyer May Prove to Secure Benefits for Your PTSD
Every veteran with PTSD has a personal story to tell. Your attorney will speak with you to understand the origins of your PTSD. Your attorney will then make an appropriate case based on your unique circumstances.
Veterans may receive VA disability benefits for PTSD if their attorney proves one of the following:
The Condition Resulted From Service
If you did not have PTSD before entering the Armed Forces but had PTSD when you left, your service could be the cause of your PTSD.
The Condition Became Worse Because of Service
Even if you had symptoms of PTSD before you served, your attorney may prove that stress and trauma during your service made your PTSD symptoms worse.
The Condition Is a Secondary Service-Connected Ailment
If your PTSD arose because of another service-connected ailment, you could also receive VA disability benefits. Though this may be rare for PTSD compared with certain other ailments, your lawyer could prove that PTSD is a secondary service-connected disability.
Your attorney’s job is to understand your struggle with PTSD and put forth the strongest possible case for benefits.
Talk to a VA Disability Attorney If VA Denies Your Claim or Low-Balls Your Rating
If VA denies your claim or you believe the rating you receive does not accurately reflect the severity of your PTSD and related symptoms, discuss your case with a VA disability lawyer.
Call today to learn more about how untreated PTSD can affect your life (and the lives of your family and friends).