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I was told I have PTSD. What does that actually mean?

You may have heard about post-traumatic stress disorder when it comes to military personnel returning from war-torn countries, people who are victims of violent crimes and those involved in catastrophic events such as 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy.

You may not be aware that anyone can suffer from PTSD, even those involved in car accidents or workplace accidents. If you suffer a catastrophic injury such as a spinal cord injury, severe burns or an amputation, you may suffer from PTSD as well.

When does being freaked out cross over into PTSD?

You may be thinking that these events would obviously freak you out and affect your life, at least in the short-term. You probably expect to get over it and move forward in what you consider a reasonable amount of time. After all, you just went through some sort of traumatic event or suffered serious trauma. Why wouldn't you be upset?

You're right; this is perfectly normal, but for some people, those feelings may not go away. If your doctor believes that you suffer from PTSD, you may be exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • You may have flashbacks or nightmares of the event.
  • You may avoid people and situations that remind you of the event.
  • You may make a concerted effort to forget the event by not thinking or talking about it.
  • You may develop trust issues.
  • You may fear the outside world.
  • You may find it difficult to feel happiness.
  • Your worldview may have changed.
  • You may not feel like participating in activities you once enjoyed.
  • You may feel guilt or shame.
  • You may be hyper-vigilant.
  • You may expect danger at every turn.
  • You may startle easily.
  • You may not be sleeping well.
  • You may experience more anger, irritation and agitation.
  • You may engage in dangerous behaviors.

You could also start smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs, which would be "out of character" for you. In fact, you may feel as though your life is out of control and that you have no way back.

PTSD can affect everything

The feelings and actions associated with PTSD can have a profound impact on your personal and professional lives. You may begin to have trouble with co-workers or supervisors, and you just don't understand why. You may argue more with loved ones or push them away. Some mornings, you may not even want to get out of bed, and your absences from work catch the attention of your superiors.

PTSD can also manifest in physical ailments and pain. Your mind is powerful, and your body may suffer for it. Fortunately, there are therapies and medications that can help. You may need them in the short-term or the long-term, and getting the help you need could be costly and take away time from your work and personal life.

If someone else caused the event that brought such trauma into your life, you may be able to seek and receive compensation since you may receive damages for more than just physical injuries. To understand your rights and options, it may be to your advantage to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced Connecticut attorney who can provide you with the answers you need.

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