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PTSD is not just a condition that affects veterans

The concept of post-traumatic stress disorder originally came to light as mental health professionals treated combat veterans returning from war. Indeed, the horror of battle is one thing that can trigger PTSD. However, as time has gone on, psychologists and other experts have come to understand that any number of people, veterans and non-veterans alike, can experience PTSD for any number of reasons. There are, after all, a lot of ways in which people can experience traumatic events.

Someone who is bullied at school or someone who has been mugged, for instance, can have PTSD, as can someone who had a difficult childhood. Even a paramedic responding to a car accident or a rescuer involved in a natural disaster can experience PTSD. PTSD can develop over the long-term as well, such as when a person experiences ongoing exposure to trauma.

The symptoms of PTSD, while treatable, are often severe. Someone with PTSD can have debilitating anxiety and depression and may also develop problems with sleeping and concentrating. Substance abuse and other destructive behavior can become concerns as well.

PTSD is listed in the Social Security Administration's Bluebook that describes various conditions that can qualify a Philadelphia resident for Social Security Disability benefits. However, as this blog has discussed before, having a condition listed in the Bluebook is not enough, standing alone, to get disability.

A person with PTSD will have to show that their symptoms are pervasive enough that, under the Social Security Administration's standards, they cannot be expected to return to their job or to another reasonably related line of work. Doing this may require the assistance of an experienced legal professional.

However, the important thing that an applicant should remember is that the type of trauma they experienced ordinarily does not affect a PTSD diagnosis or their eligibility for benefits.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee