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Is Complex Ptsd A Disability

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Types Of Ptsd Disability Benefits

Complex PTSD (Memorable Psychiatry Lecture)

The United States government operates two main disability programs:

  • Supplementary Security Income program
  • Social Security Disability Insurance .

Social Security provides financial assistance to people with little or no income, including people living with any mental illness, PTSD included. Having PTSD alone doesnt qualify someone for social security, even if they cant work. To receive SSI disability benefits for PTSD, someone must live below the poverty line and have minimal access to financial resources.

SSDI is the other federal organization that provides financial benefits. The difference between SSDI and social security is the income level and location above or below the poverty line. PTSD can qualify as a disability regardless of whether or not someone is living in poverty. People automatically earn SSDI by working long enough and paying Social Security taxes through their employment. Meeting these criteria as well as necessary PTSD disability criteria qualifies someone for disability benefits for PTSD.

How Can This Cause Ptsd

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a trauma.

The definition of trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience and that can certainly include the realities of loving and caring for a child who has a disability of any kind.

Parents of children with a complex medical condition or disability can often experience repeated overwhelming, stressful and traumatic events such as ongoing medical tests and procedures, recurrent emergencies and frequent hospitalisations. The never-ending anxiety that comes from having a child with a chronic condition can be enough to trigger symptoms of PTSD.

You may also battle with authorities and form filling, misconceptions and blatant prejudice, and barriers to your childs development, education and happiness.

One study found that 87% of parents who have a child under five with a disability felt they are regularly judged by strangers as they go about their lives.

The pinnacle of your traumatic experience may have been when you received the diagnosis. Then, had to learn to manage an unexpected set of skills and altered expectations for your child.

One parent said: The consultant explained that Dillon would be profoundly disabled, both mentally and physically. Only time could tell how much he would develop, if at all. Our world collapsed.

Clearly and unmistakably, Id experienced trauma.

How Hard Is It To Get Disability Benefits For Ptsd

In order to be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, youll need to submit adequate evidence of your disability. Being diagnosed with PTSD on its own is not enough to automatically qualify you for benefits, so its crucial that you have the proper documentation before beginning the disability application process.

In addition to listing conditions that may qualify for disability, the blue book also describes the criteria applicants must meet in order to receive benefits. For trauma- and stressor-related disorders such as PTSD or complex PTSD, the following requirements must be met.

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Tools For Calming The Nervous System

A skilled therapist can help a client who is recovering from c-PTSD learn to activate their own parasympathetic nervous system. An activated PSNS helps relieve several common symptoms associated with PTSD and c-PTSD.

Anything that one finds calming, reassuring, and relaxing can be a way to access the parasympathetic nervous system. Activities that can initiate this calming response in the body include:

  • Meditation: sitting quietly and/or following the breath.
  • Progressive relaxation: tensing and releasing muscle groups.
  • Practicing yoga, tai-chi, or Feldenkrais.
  • Deep slow breathing, with an extended exhalation.
  • Repeating a word or phrase that one finds peaceful or relaxing.
  • Gentle exercise: swimming, biking, hiking, gardening.
  • Spending time in nature: a park, garden, beach, or forest path.
  • Playing with small children or pets.
  • Receiving a therapeutic massage.
  • Repeating a soothing prayer or chant.

How To Assess Ptsd And Learning Disabilities

Dissociative Identity Disorder Awareness Ribbon

The 2013 study cited above offers some suggestions on how best to evaluate patients with learning disabilities for PTSD. These include:

  • Looking for the effects of trauma, especially aggression.
  • Evaluating potential symptoms of PTSD, including nightmares, flashbacks, sleep issues, and jumpiness.
  • Asking about a previous history of trauma.
  • Investigating past treatments and support when trauma is acknowledged.

The ability to articulate traumatic experiences depends largely upon the individuals level of learning impairment. A person with mild learning disabilities may be able to describe trauma vividly. Those with moderate to severe learning disabilities may not be able to articulate their experiences at all.

Sometimes, a person who had no prior learning disabilities may have them after a traumatic experience, and a patient who had some learning disabilities before the trauma may experience a worsening of the disabilities. Any person who can no longer concentrate or complete a task that was previously within their capabilities may have experienced trauma that has impacted their ability to learn.

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What Types Of Trauma Are Proposed To Increase The Likelihood Of Complex Ptsd

Originally, proponents of complex PTSD focused on childhood trauma, especially childhood sexual trauma. However, there is abundant evidence suggesting that duration of traumatic exposureâeven if such exposure occurs entirely during adulthood as with refugees or people trapped in a long-term domestic violence situationâis most strongly linked to the concept of complex PTSD. During long-term traumas, the victim is generally held in a protracted state of captivity, physically or emotionally, according to Dr. Herman . In these situations, the victim is under the control of the perpetrator and unable to get away from the danger. Examples of such traumatic situations include: concentration camps, Prisoner of War camps, prostitution brothels, long-term domestic violence, long-term child physical abuse, long-term child sexual abuse, and organized child exploitation rings.

What Causes Complex Ptsd

The types of traumatic events that can cause complex PTSD include:

  • childhood abuse, neglect or abandonment
  • ongoing domestic violence or abuse
  • repeatedly witnessing violence or abuse
  • being forced or manipulated into prostitution
  • torture, kidnapping or slavery
  • being a prisoner of war.

You are more likely to develop complex PTSD if:

  • you experienced trauma at an early age
  • the trauma lasted for a long time
  • escape or rescue were unlikely or impossible
  • you have experienced multiple traumas
  • you were harmed by someone close to you.

Developing PTSD after experiencing domestic violence was not something I was prepared for. Physically I left my old home. Mentally I am still there. The prison is no longer that house it is my mind. My thoughts. My memories.

Misdiagnosis with BPD

Some of the symptoms of complex PTSD are very similar to those of borderline personality disorder , and not all professionals are aware of complex PTSD.

As a result, some people are given a diagnosis of BPD or another personality disorder when complex PTSD fits their experiences more closely. Professionals disagree about when it’s helpful to diagnose someone with a personality disorder or when another diagnosis or description is better. To find out more see our page on why personality disorders are controversial?

See our pages on borderline personality disorder and personality disorders for more information on these diagnoses.

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Please Answer A Few Questions To Help Us Determine Your Eligibility

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Post-traumatic stress disorder can be the basis for a successful Social Security disability claim, but it must be properly medically documented. In deciding whether you are disabled, the Social Security Administration will consider your medical records, including hospital records and clinic notes from physicians, therapists, and counselors. You should ask your treating mental health provider to complete a Residual Functional Capacity form for you, which will address the work-related limitations caused by your PTSD. Social Security generally gives special consideration to the opinions of treating doctors, and an RFC form can make the difference between an approval and a denial of your disability claim.

What Helps With Ptsd And Complex Ptsd

Is complex PTSD a disability?

There are two particular interventions that are generally recommended if a child or young person has a diagnosis of PTSD : Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing . Research has consistently found that these are effective for PTSD in children and young people. However that does not mean that they will work for all children with PTSD and some research indicates that other approaches might also be effective .

There is much less research evidence about what interventions are effective for Complex PTSD, however there is emerging evidence that what works for PTSD is likely to be effective for Complex PTSD , but it may require more sessions and more focus on developing a trusting relationship .

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Impairments That Qualify For Ptsd Disability Benefits

Some disability claims for post traumatic stress disorder are approved by satisfying the Blue Book listing requirements under Anxiety Disorders. To do this, you must meet the requirements of Paragraph A and the requirements of either Paragraph B or Paragraph C.

In addition, you must meet the conditions of either paragraph B or C below:

  • Your medical records must document at least one of the following findings:

  • You must recall a traumatic experience and/or
  • You must have recurring obsessions or compulsions and/or
  • You must exhibit an irrational fear of a situation, object, or activity that is persistent enough that it causes a compulsion in you to avoid the situation, object, or activity and/or
  • You must have severe panic attacks, with symptoms of fear, intense apprehension, and feelings of impending doom and terror, on an average of at least once a week and/or
  • You must experience generalized persistent anxiety accompanied by at least three of the following symptoms: autonomic hyperactivity , apprehensive expectation , motor tension , or vigilance and scanning behavior .
  • Your medical records must show at least two of the following findings:

  • You are markedly restricted in your normal daily activities, and/or
  • You have marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning, and/or
  • You have marked difficulty in maintaining your concentration, persistence, or pace, and/or
  • You have repeated episodes of decompensation , that are of extended duration.
  • How To Get Ptsd Disability Benefits

    Help is available for people trying to secure PTSD disability benefits.

    • Social workers and case managers are agents that advocate for their clients in many ways, including helping people through the PTSD benefits application process.
    • Social Security offices in local communities provide assistance with the PTSD disability application process
    • is an organization of dedicated disability lawyers that efficiently and quickly help people secure disability benefits.
    • Social Security Disability Advocates provides free evaluation and assistance for applying for PTSD disability.

    If you prefer to complete the application process on your own, Social Security and SSDI each have websites that provide information, eligibility screening tools, instructions, and applications.

    If you are a military veteran, you may qualify for PTSD VA benefits, too. Combat PTSD and military sexual trauma are two types of posttraumatic stress disability claims. These benefits are non-taxable and are not dependent on receiving Social Security or vocational-allowance benefits. Contact the National Center For PTSD for both military and civilian information.

    When, despite time and treatment, the effects of PTSD dont diminish and PTSD prevents someone from working, PTSD becomes a disability. When this happens, PTSD disability benefits can provide financial help by removing one very big stressor from someones plate thats already full of trauma-induced stress.

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    Disability Compensation For Veterans With Ptsd

    The VA will acknowledge PTSD is a service-related disability provided you can verify that your PTSD symptoms are directly linked to your military service. The VA considers the following scenarios to be traumatic events, or stressors, in a veterans claim for disability benefits based on PTSD:

    • you sustained serious injury, personal or sexual trauma, or sexual violation, or
    • you were threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death

    The VA reports that PTSD is the leading mental health issue suffered by troops returning home from combat. As stated by the VAs National Center for PTSD, many veterans of recent combat operations experience PTSD, including:

    • 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans who participated in Operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom
    • 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans who participated in the Gulf War
    • 30 out of every 100 Vietnam veterans who participated in the Vietnam War had PTSD in their lifetime.
    • PTSD can relate to a traumatic sexual event. A distressing number of veterans have suffered sexual assault, abuse, and harassment while serving in the armed forces, referred to as military sexual trauma .

    Eligibility for disability benefits for PTSD from the VA is based on the following:

    Remember, if you are a veteran diagnosed with PTSD, you may qualify for VA compensation, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, or both.

    How To Win Disability Benefits For Ptsd

     Does Complex Ptsd Qualify For Disability

    August 20, 2021 By Jeremy Schooley

    Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very real disability that is often misunderstood. Living with PTSD becomes more devastating when sufferers find they can no longer do their jobs. Getting much-needed disability benefits for PTSD can be particularly frustrating.

    If you are struggling with PTSD and cannot work, we can help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Marc Whitehead & Associates is a national law firm advocating for the rights of those who have been disabled by PTSD. The disorder can afflict anyone exposed to dire stress or trauma, from veterans in combat to individuals who experience or witness a horrible or life-threatening incident.

    Some people are disabled by PTSD alone, while others with PTSD struggle with additional impairments. Research has linked traumatic stress exposures and post-traumatic stress disorder to such conditions as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, musculoskeletal disorders, eating and sleep disorders, and other diseases.

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    What Additional Problems Are Associated With Chronic Trauma

    In addition to PTSD, chronic trauma is sometimes associated with other comorbidities including substance use, mood disorders, and personality disorders. A thorough assessment using validated instruments is critical to creating a comprehensive and effective treatment plan.

    An individual who experienced a prolonged period of chronic victimization and total control by another may also experience difficulties in the following areas:

    • Emotional regulation. May include persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or inhibited anger.
    • Consciousness. Includes forgetting traumatic events, reliving traumatic events, or having episodes in which one feels detached from one’s mental processes or body .
    • Self-perception. May include helplessness, shame, guilt, stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings.
    • Distorted perceptions of the perpetrator. Examples include attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or preoccupied with revenge.
    • Relations with others. Examples include isolation, distrust, or a repeated search for a rescuer.
    • One’s system of meanings. May include a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair.

    Practical Help For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    If you cannot work due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Disability Support Project can help with applications for UC50 and PIP, providing we have adequate support from your mental health specialist and GP with documentation and diagnosis.

    We are also hoping to have a mentor group and therapy sessions running in the near future and a link will be provided here if we can. If this is of interest please get in touch.

    Your GP or mental health practitioner will also be able to direct you to local support groups and specialists.

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    Causes Of Complex Ptsd

    Complex PTSD may be caused by experiencing recurring or long-term traumatic events, for example:

    • childhood abuse or neglect
    • torture, sex trafficking, or slavery

    You may also be more likely to develop complex PTSD if:

    • you experienced trauma at a young age
    • you were harmed by someone close to you who you trusted
    • you were unable to escape the trauma

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Social Security Disability for Veterans with PTSD

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is often linked with the military, but can affect anyone at any age. It is also widely lacking in awareness and often misunderstood. Those suffering from PTSD will often have nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of guilt or isolation, insomnia and irritability.

    PTSD is a hidden disability as it shows no physical signs, but can be debilitating in certain circumstances such as fireworks where sudden, loud or unexpected noised can be heard. Events that trigger reminders of trauma can also be difficult to deal with and can cause a shut down or outburst.

    Always remember that although someone may seem fine, they could be battling a difficult mental condition, give space and support not judgement if you don’t understand their behaviour.

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    Triggers Of Complex Ptsd

    People who have PTSD or complex PTSD can react to different life situations as if they are reliving their trauma.

    The particular situation that triggers a person can be random and varies depending on their specific trauma history. A person can be triggered by situations, images, smells, conversations with others, and more.

    This triggering can manifest as a fight-or-flight response triggered by the amygdala, responsible for processing emotions in the brain.

    When this happens, a persons brain can perceive that they are in danger, even if they are not. This is known as an amygdala hijack and can also result in things like flashbacks, nightmares, or being easily startled.

    People with PTSD or complex PTSD may exhibit certain behaviors in an attempt to manage their symptoms.

    Examples of such behaviors include:

    • misusing alcohol or drugs
    • avoiding unpleasant situations by becoming people-pleasers
    • lashing out at minor criticisms

    These behaviors can develop as a way to deal with or try to forget about the original trauma and the resulting symptoms in the present.

    Friends and family of people with complex PTSD should be aware that these behaviors may represent coping mechanisms and attempts to gain control over emotions.

    To recover from PTSD or complex PTSD, a person can seek treatment and learn to replace these behaviors with ones focused on healing and self-care.

    Often, people with complex PTSD have experienced prolonged trauma such as ongoing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

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