Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Can A Person With Ptsd Work

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Those who have experienced trauma in the past whether linked to gender, racism or other bigotry can particularly struggle in toxic work environments. If you have a hostile workplace, or a supervisor who’s aggressive or some dynamics with colleagues that feel intimidating or toxic, that can trigger prior memories for people who have had trauma, says Dr Shaili Jain, a physician and trauma researcher at Stanford University. Real symptoms can start manifesting in reaction to the current-day situation.

No matter the type of issue a worker experiences, the most damaging environments are also generally the hardest places to report problems. One major factor is power imbalances between managers and lower-level workers; in hierarchy-driven workplaces, workers may find it especially challenging to complain to supervisors.

A lack of communication can become even more of a problem when gender, race or age dynamics are in play. Emily, for example, says she constantly felt discomfort trying to create boundaries at her toxic job because her superiors largely white men dismissed her attempts to detach from their drinking culture, and suggested she couldnt fit in with the company culture without participating.

These dynamics can combine to make trauma more acute and longer lasting a major problem for workers of all stripes, no matter how the severity of their individual experiences.

Hope for reprieve?

How To Deal With Ptsd In The Workplace

I will be the first person to admit that dealing with PTSD in the workplace is really, really difficult. There are times when I wonder if I can handle it. There have been times that my disorder has gotten in the way of my ability to succeed at my job. But having PTSD has forced me to focus on my work-life balance at a young age, and my long-term happiness feels more secure because of that.

The way you manage your PTSD symptoms in the workplace will be unique to you and your experiences. I’ve learned to manage mine in a number of ways, including:

  • Using headphones to block out background noise
  • Taking frequent bathrooms breaks to allow for a little alone time and privacy throughout the day
  • Eating at times when the breakroom is less crowded
  • Using my lunch hour to go for a walk or relax
  • Only working during work hours to avoid overstressing myself
  • Getting through the workday when you have PTSD is not easy, but it is possible. With trial and error, you can find ways to treat and manage your PTSD symptoms in the workplace. Though it can be difficult at times, you can still reach and strive for your goals in the workplace just like anyone else. 

    How do you handle PTSD in your workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    Documenting Your Ptsd For Social Security

    It is important to make sure that Social Security has all the medical evidence related to your PTSD and all your other impairments, including records of inpatient or outpatient psychiatric treatment and clinic notes from counseling and therapy. While Social Security will usually request your treatment records from the previous year when you file your disability application, you should provide Social Security with all relevant records from the last several years, if not more.

    In addition, if your treating mental health provider is willing to complete an RFC form or write a letter on your behalf, this could give you a much better chance at being approved. The RFC form should ask for your diagnosis and symptoms, and it should address your ability to:

    • sustain a routine without special supervision
    • maintain attention and concentration
    • understand, remember, and carry out simple and complex instructions
    • avoid excessive absences from work
    • make simple work-related decisions
  • Trade
  • You Have Digestive Issues

    Many people with PTSD experience digestive issues due to the mental stress that they are under. “The brain sends signals to the stomach that the brain is under a great deal of stress, and as a result we start to see digestive issues and stomach pain,” says Poag. Like insomnia, digestive issues can be caused by a variety of factors, so if you’re questioning where these problems may be coming from, a trip to the doctor’s can help clarify.

    Preparing For The Right Job

    Who can get PTSD? Professor Anka Vujanovic University of ...

    People with PTSD may find they need to focus on their mental health before returning to the workforce, or may decide to have a career change following a traumatic event. Finding the right job can take time, and thats okay! Taking the time to consider goals, aspirations and skill gaps can help people with PTSD find a purpose in their job search and help them identify a career they feel passionately about.

    It is important for people with PTSD to take care of their mental health during their job search. Ensuring they are in a good frame of mind before they find employment will help reduce workplace stress and burnout in the long-term. Prior to finding employment, it is important for people with PTSD to identify coping strategies and methods which will rebalance and calm them in the workplace.

    If full-time employment is a daunting prospect, people with PTSD may like to consider part-time, casual and volunteer work. Flexible working arrangements can also help people with PTSD manage the demands of the workplace. Considering what workplace arrangements work best for them prior to employment can help people with PTSD feel confident and supported when stepping into a new role.

    EPIC takes the time to understand each person we work with. We can help identify what work preparation activities you need and assist you to enrol in training to diversify and extend your skillset

    Other Types Of Treatment

    • Other types of counselling include group treatment and family therapy.
    • Other types of medicines include:footnote 3
    • Other antidepressants like venlafaxine may also be used.
    • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine .
    • Mood stabilizers such as carbamazepine . Mood stabilizers are sometimes taken with other medicines used for PTSD.
    • Antipsychotics such as risperidone . These medicines may help with symptoms like nightmares or flashbacks. More research is needed to find out how well these drugs work.
    • Prazosin , which is used for nightmares and sleep problems related to PTSD.

    If you are using medicine, take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if it’s not helping your symptoms or if the side effects are very bad. You and your doctor will decide what to do.

    Some people who have PTSD may try complementary or alternative treatments to manage their symptoms. These treatments may include acupuncture, meditation, and hypnotherapy. These treatments may be helpful for some people with PTSD. But more research is needed.

    Talk with your doctor about any complementary health practice that you would like to try or are already using.

    Some Dos And Donts For Managers

    Espyr also provides other services that assist people who have experienced traumatic events. Annually, Espyr provides over 500 critical incident responses.  Some may be as brief as an hour or two debriefing bank employees after a robbery; some may be a weeklong deployment as in responses after a hurricane.   These psycho-educational services help to normalize reactions and provide tips about coping with personal responses to traumatic events. They also inform people about when and how to seek further assistance. Espyrs mental health consultants also help guide, support, and provide resources to managers whose team has experienced a traumatic incident.

    Espyr provides both Employee and Student Assistance Programs that serve as a barrier-free means to get no cost professional assessments for PTSD. Espyr also provides screening and wellbeing assessments for law enforcement, first responders and healthcare professionals who are frequently exposed to traumatic events in their daily work. Another Espyr service related to PTSD is TalkNow, a 24/7 problem-solving and emotional support line staffed by mental health professionals that can also connect people with PTSD symptoms with resources, referrals, and assistance.

    If you know someone who has experienced a traumatic event and might be experiencing PTSD symptoms, reach out. Just ask if they would like to talk. Help them start down a path to assessment and treatment that can improve their quality of life.

    Things To Know If You Love Someone With Ptsd

    Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can be triggered by experiencing or witnessing something traumatic. Many people think of PTSD as a disorder that only military veterans deal with, but it can also occur in reaction to other distressing events like sexual violence, a physical assault, childhood or domestic abuse, a robbery, the sudden death of a loved one, a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

    According to the National Center for PTSD, its estimated that 7% to 8% of the U.S. population will have PTSD in their lifetime. Women are more likely to develop it than men.

    Symptoms of PTSD may include vivid flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of anything or anyone that reminds them of the trauma, difficulty sleeping, irritability, being easily startled and feelings of numbness. The symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough that they disrupt the persons ability to function at work, in their relationships and in their daily life.

    Having a strong support system can help carry a person through some of the more difficult periods of PTSD, but only if those with the disorder are able to communicate what they need from their loved ones.

    Below, people with the disorder share what they wish more of their well-meaning friends and family understood about loving someone with PTSD.

    How Do I Discuss Workplace Accommodations With My Employer

    POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD), Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

    After I had worked for several months as a supervisor in a mental health setting, I realized I needed to request workplace accommodations to continue my job effectively while maintaining my mental health.

    It was not an easy decision for me to come forward to my employer with my mental health concerns . Despite the protections in place with the ADA and my employer’s dedication to a positive work environment, I still feared being labeled and treated differently by my supervisor and human resources representative. However, the reality was that I was spending a great deal of physical and mental effort to either hide or compensate for symptoms that could lessen with some basic changes.

    You may make a request for accommodations at any time. Your employer may have a specific protocol in place for requesting accommodations and you may need to ask your supervisor or human resources contact person how to submit a request. In any case, you will be required to provide documentation of your disability. This documentation does not need to contain details. Your diagnosis and a statement from your practitioner that you have a substantial limitation to one or more major life activities should be adequate. In my case, my employer only requested proof of my diagnosis.

    What Are Reasonable Workplace Accommodations For Ptsd

    According to the ADA, reasonable accommodations are those that do not provide an “undue hardship” to the employer. There is not set formula for what is considered a hardship, this is determined on a case-by-case basis.

    Here are some accommodations for PTSD symptoms that are typically very easy to implement:

    • Flexible scheduling
    • Allowing for phone calls to support persons during the work day
    • Modifying break schedules
    • Repositioning desk, cubicle, or office location
    • Disability awareness training for staff
    • Organizational tools
    • Reducing non-essential job functions
    • Regularly scheduled supervision/feedback
    • Consistent shift scheduling
    • Providing a mentor

    After requesting accommodations, I found that I was able to continue working productively. It was reassuring to me that my employer was aware of my needs and willing to work with me.

    Do you find that your PTSD symptoms make some aspects of work more challenging? What accommodations would make things easier? Please leave a comment and let us know.

    See Also:

    Scope And Purpose Of The Framework

    The Federal Framework on PTSD establishes the Government of Canada’s vision, guiding principles, and actions to address occupation-related PTSD, as they relate to the three legislated areas of priority.

    The purpose of the Framework is to strengthen knowledge creation, knowledge exchange and collaboration across the federal government, and with partners and stakeholders, to inform practical, evidence-based public health actions, programs and policies, to reduce stigma and improve recognition of the symptoms and impacts of PTSD.

    Appendix C lists PTSD initiatives currently underway in Canada, including federal initiatives to support high-risk populations. The following graphic illustrates how the various ongoing initiatives can connect to the Framework to help those impacted by PTSD.

    Figure 1. Linking other existing initiatives to the Federal Framework on PSTD

    The image is a circle with inner and outer rings, showing the Federal Framework on PTSD at the centre, surrounded following four key words describing its purpose: collaboration, knowledge creation, knowledge exchange, and sharing best practices.

    The middle ring shows how various, ongoing initiatives can connect to the Federal Framework to help those impacted by PTSD. There are three types of initiatives described with examples provided under each type of initiative.

    The first set shows federal initiatives related to PTSD including:

    The next set shows initiatives that have received federal funding including:

    Ptsd Causes And Risk Factors

    Everyone reacts to traumatic events differently. Each person is unique in their ability to manage fear, stress and the threat posed by a traumatic event or situation. For that reason, not everyone who has a trauma will develop PTSD. Also, the type of help and support a person receives from friends, family members, and professionals following the trauma may impact the development of PTSD or the severity of symptoms.

    PTSD was first brought to the attention of the medical community by war veterans; hence the names shell shock and battle fatigue syndrome. However, anyone who has had a traumatic event can develop PTSD. People who were abused as children or who have been repeatedly exposed to life-threatening situations are at risk for developing PTSD. Victims of trauma related to physical and sexual assault face the greatest risk for PTSD.

    You may be more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event if you have a history of other mental health problems, have blood relatives with mental health problems, or have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

    How common is PTSD?

    About 3.6% of adult Americans — about 5.2 million people — have PTSD during the course of a year, and an estimated 7.8 million Americans will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men. This may be due to the fact that women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, abuse, and rape.

    Those Who Have Experienced Trauma In The Past Whether Linked To Gender Racism Or Other Bigotry Can Particularly Struggle In Toxic Work Environments

    container stack collapse can lead to ptsd freight news

    As a result, Jain is hoping to see workplaces embrace mental-health support for their employees. Organisations that just gave lip service to these things will have to actually build psychological pathways for the rehabilitation of their workforce, if they want to maintain their profitability and their productivity, she says. It is a massive call for employers to take action, definitely on a policy and governmental level.

    Jain adds that the burden particularly falls on employers to be more in tune with their workforce, recognising signs like absenteeism and presenteeism as well as low morale and high turnover.

    However, theres no telling when or if these workplaces will change. This means that, unfortunately, the burden may fall on workers to seek help and induce progress. Workers can try to create better work boundaries and push for culture change both within and outside the workplace. Importantly, experts stress that seeking independent mental-health care is critical to helping overcome trauma.

    But the first place to start is taking your experiences seriously whether or not your workplace does.

    If you are struggling to cope in the UK, contact the Samaritans on the free helpline 116 123, or please click on this link to access support services. In the US, contact the free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800 273 8255, or chat online. Additional international resources are available here.

    How Can I Help A Loved One

    When someone is diagnosed with PTSD, loved ones can also experience a lot of difficulties. You may feel guilty or angry about the trauma itselfthen, on top of those feelings, experience difficulties around PTSD. You may feel like your loved one is a different person, worry that things will never be normal, or wonder what will happen in the future. Here are some tips to help you cope:

    With support, people can recover from PTSD and the effects of trauma. Recovery is good for the entire family, especially for young people who are still learning how to interact with the world. A loved ones recovery is a chance for everyone to learn the skills that support wellness.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd

    Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but they sometimes emerge later. To meet the criteria for PTSD, symptoms must last longer than 1 month, and they must be severe enough to interfere with aspects of daily life, such as relationships or work. The symptoms also must be unrelated to medication, substance use, or other illness.

    The course of the illness varies: Although some people recover within 6 months, others have symptoms that last for a year or longer. People with PTSD often have co-occurring conditions, such as depression, substance use, or one or more anxiety disorders.

    After a dangerous event, it is natural to have some symptoms or even to feel detached from the experience, as though you are observing things rather than experiencing them. A health care providersuch as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social workerwho has experience helping people with mental illnesses can determine whether symptoms meet the criteria for PTSD.

    To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:

    • At least one re-experiencing symptom
    • At least one avoidance symptom
    • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
    • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

    How To Manage Work While Coping With Ptsd

    • Apr 30, 2019
    • 5 minute read

    When I got to work that morning, I had to stand to keep myself calm. I couldnt sit down. I couldnt concentrate. My vision was blurred. A coworker peeked her head into my cubicle to say good morning and I almost jumped out of my skin. I texted my husband to tell him what was going on. He texted back to say that hed made an appointment with my primary care doctor and he was leaving work to take me there.

    In the doctors office, I started off calmly describing these symptoms, but when she had me describe the car crash Id been in a few weeks before, I unexpectedly burst into tears. I hadnt been sleeping and when I did, Id dream about my teeth flying out of my mouth from the force of the crash. I took crazy routes to avoid the exit where crash had happened, but Id downplay the crash to anyone whod asked. Everyone told me theyd been in worse accidents. What was wrong with me?

    When my doctor diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder , she suggested that I go home for the day and to go on leave, using Family Medical Leave Act . Id gone to the appointment from work and thought Id be able to go back to the office. But she compared my condition to a stroke or a heart attack: you wouldnt go back to the office after one of those, would you?

    What Can I Do To Help Myself

    4 TIPS on HOW TO HELP someone with PTSD

    It is important to know that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment. Here are some things you can do to help yourself:

    • Talk with your health care provider about treatment options, and follow your treatment plan.
    • Engage in exercise, mindfulness, or other activities that help reduce stress.
    • Try to maintain routines for meals, exercise, and sleep.
    • Set realistic goals and do what you can as you are able.
    • Spend time with trusted friends or relatives, and tell them about things that may trigger symptoms.
    • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.
    • Avoid use of alcohol or drugs.

    Of The Weirdest Triggers For People With Ptsd

    Trauma isnt static. The events that cause post-traumatic stress disorder are fixed in time, but their aftermath can spill into the years and decades that follow. The past can impact the present in ways you cant expect or anticipate, making you feel on edge in safe spaces and in the company of people you love and trust.

    We asked people living with PTSD what their weirdest triggers were. Their triggers included crowds and strawberries, ceiling tiles and Pine-Sol. Many of their triggers were everyday objects and situations, driving home how difficult it can be to navigate the world when you live with the effects of trauma.

    If PTSD has affected the way you live your life, know that youre not alone. According to the National Institute of Health, about 6.8% of American adults will experience PTSD during their lifetimes. And while your triggers may seem strange to you, theres nothing weird about recovering from trauma. If reading this is hard for you, dont hesitate to reach out to the Mightys community of Trauma Survivors to get support from others who understand.

    Here are TK of our communitys weird PTSD triggers:

    Ptsd And The Workplace

    Although their injuries may not be visible, people with PTSD may face difficulties with employment. As mentioned earlier, these individuals may experience sleep disturbances, anxiety, and poor concentration among other symptoms. All of these have the potential to interfere with everyday activities in and out of the workplace. However, keep in mind that not all cases of PTSD are the same, nor are all severe. Again, be mindful that most people who experience a traumatic event, will not develop PTSD.  Plus, man of the people who do develop PTSD will not experience any noticeable problems at work.

    Employment can play a very positive role in the recovery of a person with PTSD or any behavioral health condition.  After all, employment enables many people with physical and emotional disabilities to fully participate in society.  For example, employment provides income that is key to the individual and familys fundamental economic well-being and independence.  Employment also builds skills for future wellbeing. It provides greater social interaction and connections that can reduce feelings of isolation. Finally, employment provides a valued social role in our society and helps to improve self-esteem that further contributes to life satisfaction.

    Tip 7: Take Care Of Yourself

    Letting your family members PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout and may even lead to secondary traumatization. You can develop your own trauma symptoms from listening to trauma stories or being exposed to disturbing symptoms like flashbacks. The more depleted and overwhelmed you feel, the greater the risk is that youll become traumatized.

    In order to have the strength to be there for your loved one over the long haul and lower your risk for secondary traumatization, you have to nurture and care for yourself.

    Take care of your physical needs: get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat properly, and look after any medical issues.

    Cultivate your own support system. Lean on other family members, trusted friends, your own therapist or support group, or your faith community. Talking about your feelings and what youre going through can be very cathartic.

    Make time for your own life. Dont give up friends, hobbies, or activities that make you happy. Its important to have things in your life that you look forward to.

    Spread the responsibility. Ask other family members and friends for assistance so you can take a break. You may also want to seek out respite services in your community.

    Set boundaries. Be realistic about what youre capable of giving. Know your limits, communicate them to your family member and others involved, and stick to them.

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