Ptsd And Mental Capacity
People with PTSD exhibit three primary mental symptoms with this disorder. They relive the traumatic event or events that caused the PTSD, either during their waking or sleeping hours. They additionally exhibit avoidance tendencies, which is a mental or psychological detachment from everyday life, and arousal tendencies, which is a psychological state of heightened awareness or vigilance.
Reliving the event can cause severe disruption to daily life. PTSD sufferers may experience flashbacks, pronounced and overwhelming memories, and repetitive nightmares. They may also have exaggerated reactions to any event or occurrence that reminds them of the root event that resulted in their PTSD. For instance, solders with PTSD may react to fireworks or backfiring vehicles as they would in a combat situation: taking cover, looking for a retreat path, and even falling into a flashback scenario in which they speak to comrades who were present during the initial traumatic event.
Avoidance symptoms that come with PTSD may cause sufferers to feel or be detached from everyday life. They may not communicate well, and may avoid situations, people or activities that remind them of the trauma they experienced. Additionally, they may experience memory issues and lack empathy, due to their overall detachment from their own emotional state. Avoidance symptoms can also result in a feeling of hopelessness, as well as depression, or a complete lack of interest in the future.
Remote Work Option For People With Ptsd
People with PTSD suffer from a number of psychological and physical symptoms. These symptoms vary from person to person but often include:
- Panic disorder.
On top of that, many otherwise common occurrences can trigger their PTSD. It can be anything from a car backfiring to the smell of someones cologne any person, place, or thing can set someone off, depending on that persons particular trauma.
According to PTSD.gov, people with PTSD have more unemployment, divorce or separation, spouse abuse and a chance of being fired than people without PTSD. Both their personal life and their professional life are at risk because of this debilitating disorder.
For a clearer picture, here is a list of common triggers for those with PTSD. According to confinedtosuccess:
- High-stress situations.
- Limited emergency exits.
- Unsafe work neighborhood.
With this type of criteria, the right job can seem almost nonexistent. Thats where remote employment comes in. With the ability to work remotely, someone with PTSD can maintain complete control of their work environment, thereby minimizing disturbances and triggers which could potentially disrupt their day-to-day work responsibilities.
Obviously, remote work is not limited to only those people suffering from PTSD individuals with other types of mental and physical disorders can benefit from remote work, as well.
What Exactly Is Ptsd Anyway
First, the basics. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It occurs in people whove experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
Sometimes, that event is big and obvious: combat, a life-threatening accident or sexual assault. Other times, it develops after a series of smaller, less obvious, stressful events like repeated bullying or an unstable childhood.
Chronic PTSD can result from multiple adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, which can include unstable adult relationships, food insecurity, childhood abuse, effects of racism, recurrent micro-aggressions and more.
These recurrent childhood stressors can impact brain and overall development leading into adulthood. When a child is exposed to stressors early in life, unhealthy patterns often develop and brain function may change due to internalization of trauma.
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How To Support Employees Experiencing Ptsd In The Workplace
The experiences caused by PTSD can be incredibly debilitating for employees, so its vital that they are able to access support when they need to.
As with any mental health issue, its crucial to remember that PTSD affects different people in different ways, so a support system that works for one person may not work for everybody.
You should work with the individual employee to find and coordinate the best support system for them.
Once that is done, you will need to regularly check in with and provide ongoing support to that individual.
To help with this, here are five ways that you can support an employee who is experiencing PTSD.
What Are The Major Signs And Symptoms Of Ptsd
The symptoms vary from person to person, and so does the severity. But the most common symptoms may include intrusive thoughts such as flashbacks or nightmares. The flashbacks can be so intense that they presume they are experiencing or witnessing the traumatic episode again.
Other than intrusive memories, avoiding things that recall the incident can also be seen in people suffering from PTSD. One example is avoiding friends, places, occasions, items, and circumstances that bring back old wounds. People may seek to forget or escape recalling the terrible occurrence. They may also be adamant about not discussing what occurred or their feelings about it.
Adding to these, they may have negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves or others. Behavioral changes may include irritability, angry outbursts, and sudden mood changes. They can be easily startled, portray reckless behavior, self-harm, etc.
In critical cases, memory loss, suicidal tendencies or self-destruction, and substance abuse are also noticed in those with PTSD.
To put it as a whole, most adults who suffer or encounter a tragic or disastrous incident will struggle to cope and suffer from emotions like:
- And even guilt.
These are fairly typical symptoms that should improve over time. Still, for people with PTSD, these thoughts do not improve and often worsen, persisting for months or perhaps years.
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Ptsd: National Center For Ptsd
Available en Español
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental health problem. PTSD can only develop after you go through or see a life-threatening event. It’s normal to have stress reactions to these types of events, and most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. Learn about PTSD symptoms and treatments to help you get better.
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It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event . At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.
If it’s been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.
How I Knew I Had PTSD
When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your traumaeven things you used to enjoy.
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.
Tip : Support Ptsd Treatment With A Healthy Lifestyle
The symptoms of PTSD can be hard on your body so it’s important to take care of yourself and develop some healthy lifestyle habits.
Take time to relax. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, massage, or yoga can activate the body’s relaxation response and ease symptoms of PTSD.
Avoid alcohol and drugs. When you’re struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. But substance use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, interferes with treatment, and can add to problems in your relationships.
Eata healthy diet. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Omega-3s play a vital role in emotional health so incorporate foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts into your diet. Limit processed food, fried food, refined starches, and sugars, which can exacerbate mood swings and cause fluctuations in your energy.
Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can trigger anger, irritability, and moodiness. Aim for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual and make your bedroom as quiet, dark, and soothing as possible.
Common Internal Ptsd Triggers
- Physical discomfort, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, sickness, and sexual frustration.
- Any bodily sensation that recalls the trauma, including pain, old wounds and scars, or a similar injury.
- Strong emotions, especially feeling helpless, out of control, or trapped.
- Feelings toward family members, including mixed feelings of love, vulnerability, and resentment.
Ptsd Symptoms And Complications Impact Everyday Functioning
The symptoms of PTSD can be severe and debilitating. You may have good days but also periods of time when you simply cant function normally. When you are constantly on the lookout for danger, susceptible to terrifying memories and flashbacks, and emotionally unstable, doing normal, everyday activities becomes extremely challenging.
In most people with PTSD, especially those not benefitting from treatment, the symptoms have a ripple effect and cause a number of serious complications. For instance, people with PTSD are at an increased risk for mood disorders like depression or anxiety disorders. They are also more likely to struggle with substance abuse and to have neurological difficulties, like headaches, memory loss, and symptoms of dementia. Other potential complications of PTSD include:
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
How To Help Someone Having A Flashback Or Panic Attack
During a flashback, people often feel a sense of disassociation, as if they’re detached from their own body. Anything you can do to ground them will help.
- Tell your loved one they’re having a flashback and that even though it feels real, the event is not actually happening again.
- Help remind them of their surroundings .
- Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths .
- Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them.
- Ask before you touch them. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make them feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence.
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Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help
Not everyone will need professional help to recover from a traumatic event. However it may be a good idea for them to speak to their GP who can make a referral and provide guidance. The Mental Health Foundation has a great guide about how to speak to your GP about your mental health. There are also further sources of information you can find at PTSD UK.
Types Of Ptsd Triggers
Triggers can fall into two categories: internal triggers and external triggers.
- Internal triggers are things that you feel or experience inside your body. Internal triggers include thoughts or memories, emotions, and bodily sensations .
- External triggers are situations, people, or places you might encounter throughout your day . Listed below are some common internal and external triggers.
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Worst Work Conditions For People With Ptsd
As mentioned, theres a lot of variability concerning PTSD symptoms. That said, the following table lists common work environments least suited to those with PTSD and a few corresponding job examples.
|WORK CONDITION TO AVOID|
|Office jobs, Restaurant Worker, Retail Worker|
I know what youre thinkingUm, doesnt that cover ALL jobs? Again, no two PTSD sufferers are alike and so while one person may resonate with seven of these work conditions, another may only resonate with one. Working to minimize your symptoms would obviously whittle the list down even more, thus expanding your job options.
Cherie’s Experience With Ptsd
PTSD doesn’t only affect veterans. As a young adult, Cherie suffered from treatment-resistant depression that made it difficult for her to recover from difficult and often devastating events in her life. But after being hospitalized due to a violent attack, Cherie’s condition worsened. She was diagnosed with PTSD and stopped working. It wasn’t until a car wreck that Cherie found the support and the treatment plan that helped her make progress towards recovery.
The decision to work came by surprise, as she started working part-time in an office to help a friend. Realizing the positive impact of work on her mental health, Cherie started considering full-time employment. You can learn more about Cherie’s path to work and how Social Security’s Ticket to Work program helped succeed in her story, Endurance.
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A Brief History Of Ptsd
Lets briefly look at the history of what we now call PTSD. The term PTSD itself was unknown until only a few decades ago. But in fact, people have probably long experienced the condition since people have always been exposed to extraordinary and traumatic events.
Throughout history symptoms that are now classified as PTSD were called by various other names related to the events that caused the symptoms. The early history of trauma related stress is tied to combat in the military and dangerous working conditions associated with the industrial revolution. The significant emotional and behavioral symptoms that were experienced by some individuals after being involved in combat situations or traumatic incidents on the job, were given various names like shell shock, war neurosis, battle fatigue, and railway spine. The medical professionals of the time had little understanding of what caused these symptoms or how to treat them. In many cases they were dismissed as personal weakness, cowardice, or lack of discipline.
Applying For Disability With Ptsd
If you need to file for Social Security Disability benefits because of your PTSD, youll need to prove the symptoms you experience meet the Social Security Administrations eligibility requirements. Essentially, your application and medical records must show that your PTSD prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.
The SSA evaluates SSD claims for PTSD under the listed medical condition of anxiety disorders. Your application must either meet the listed criteria or must otherwise be found to prevent you from working. Most claims for PTSD are actually approved for disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance. In other words, even if your condition doesnt precisely meet the listing for anxiety disorders, with proper documentation and thorough medical records, your application for SSD benefits can still be approved.
While SSD eligibility is possible with a PTSD application, you must still show your condition is severe enough to stop you from working in your regular career and any other field or job for which you might otherwise be qualified. Achieving this requires you work closely with your treating physician and any mental healthcare providers youve seen. You may also want to get help from a Social Security advocate or attorney.
What Triggers Workplace Ptsd
Whats most critical to know, experts said, is that theres no one set of triggers for PTSD. The catalyst can be a stressful event or catastrophic accident a death or injury that happens in the workplace, for example and is witnessed by a large group. For other people, it can be triggered by a perception or realization that they arent physically safe at work due to treacherous working conditions, exposure to COVID, violence, or another reason.
PTSD can also be caused by the office culture itself, Marter noted. Ongoing exposure to things like emotional abuse, threatening behaviors, or sexual or racial harassment can result in PTSD in the staff exposed to it. It can be even be prompted by less overtly egregious but persistent career harms that Marter described as chronic overwork unrealistic performance expectations not being given the resources to succeed at your job undelivered promises boundary violations such as expecting you to do work when on vacation and not allowing you to use your benefits like vacation, sick time, or leave cues that tell employees they arent psychologically safe at work.
What Is Workplace Ptsd
PTSD is commonly defined as a psychiatric disorder that develops after witnessing or experiencing extremely traumatic events, such as combat crime an accident a natural disaster or a physical, emotional, or sexual assault, Manly explained.
However, the DSM still does not include a definition of post-traumatic stress disorder specific to the workplace, Manly said. But that doesnt mean workplace PTSD doesnt have consistent, recognizable patterns.
Joyce Marter, licensed psychotherapist and author of The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life, said workplace PTSD is characterized by the different emotional, cognitive, and physical challenges people experience when they have difficulty coping with negative, abusive, or traumatic aspects of their jobs. This could mean situations such as a supervisor dressing down subordinates in front of colleagues or being required to be responsive and available to requests at any time of day, including days off or being asked to perform tasks they arent trained for, such as performing maintenance on machinery theyre unfamiliar with or without the required safety protections.
But Marter said its important to know that, although workplace PTSD can be triggered by the workplace, it looks and feels like the PTSD triggered by other situations.
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