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What Happens If PTSD Goes Untreated?

Veterans and others who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may experience long-term effects from the chronic condition. 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 get 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 they at risk of suffering emotionally, but the condition puts them at an increased risk for several life-threatening conditions and conditions affecting quality of life. These could include:

  • Type II diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse disorders

Veterans with untreated PTSD are also at a higher risk for suicide and decreased 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 the next steps to take.

Treating PTSD in Veterans

Interventions and treatment, even when it is not successful in stopping PTSD, can help control symptoms and prevent long-term psychological and physical health consequences. This is important because repeated trauma from stressors over a 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 highly recommended treatment for military veterans exposed to repeated horrific, life-threatening events. This type of treatment requires the veteran to focus on the trauma, discussing it and working through those memories using numerous techniques while 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) 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 effect PTSD has on your job, relationships, and quality of life.

Your PTSD Diagnosis May Qualify You for VA Disability Benefits

You could qualify for VA disability if your PTSD is due to or aggravated by an in-service event.

Talk to a VA Disability Attorney If They Deny Your Claim or Low-Ball 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 (888) 392-5392 today to learn more.