Try as you might, you can never unsee events after they've happened. Sometimes for veterans and first responders like police officers and firefighters, you re-see them continuously. Fortunately, as mental health stigmas are removed, the state of Nebraska now recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a work related illness. Which means it's covered by workers' compensation.
What is PTSD?
PTSD came to the public consciousness after the Vietnam War, and it has been called different names over the years. In short, it's a mental health disorder where your brain is affected by witnessing one or many traumatic events. While it's widely affiliated with combat veterans, such as in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's also well documented in first responder professions including police, firefighters, and medics.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are complex because PTSD is often a trigger for other mental health issues like depression, anxiety and addiction. Some of the main signs are a re-living of traumatic events, withdrawal or numbing and increased attention where, for example, a police officer may be on edge, constantly worried about safety to the point it hinders daily life.
Withdrawal signs include removal from social situations and other unpredictable behavior, such as increased violence and memory lapses, is frequent. PTSD is often connected to substance abuse with men and depression among women. These differing and often combined symptoms make PTSD socially challenging and it doesn't just hurt the victim, but also your family, friends and coworkers. The symptoms also make it impossible to do your job right.
What about treatment?
Early therapy has shown the best results at reducing long-term effects. PTSD, along with the relationship problems, depression, alcohol abuse and other symptoms won't just make you unhappy, it can cost you your job and hurt your family. Because it's tied to other conditions, working with experts helps both in treatment and in diagnosis to make sure you qualify for workers' comp.
It was your workplace that put you into these horrific settings, so it's natural that workers' compensation will help with treatment and expense. Sometimes it's hard to admit that your work has gotten to you, but catching PTSD before it consumes you is important, and it happens to a lot of people doing dangerous work. It's human to respond to traumatic and terrible events. Fortunately, resiliency is also distinctly human.
If you think you may suffer from PTSD, Nebraska offers an online self-test to get the process started. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help make sure you get the treatment you need to recover with full support from your employer.