Will My PTSD Get Me Fired from My Job?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious biological and psychological brain disorder that is the result of exposure to shocking or life-threatening experiences. As many as 20% of combat veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from this potentially life-threatening disease.1 Untreated PTSD can cause major disturbances in a person’s life.

Some of the common results of ongoing and unaddressed PTSD include:

  • Relationship problems
  • Difficulty maintaining a job
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Anger management issues that lead to criminal prosecution
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

PTSD is a recognized mental disability. Individuals who have been diagnosed and are being treated for it cannot be discriminated against as a result of their condition. Conversely, those who have not been officially diagnosed, and are not being treated, may find it impossible to function in the workplace.
 

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The brain manages psychological functions such as emotions, memory, panic response, sleep and many others through an intricate system of chemical signals in the central nervous system (CNS). Exposure to trauma causes spikes in naturally occurring chemicals such as adrenaline. The rush that a person feels during intense situations allows the brain to utilize its resources as a defense mechanism during times of emergency. This process can have similar effects as drugs like amphetamine or cocaine in the brain.

This can lead to serious chemical imbalances that may last for years or even a lifetime. Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares and sleep disorders
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Depression2

Anyone facing these symptoms will find full-time employment challenging. Because many people with PTSD have no awareness of their disease or are unwilling to seek help for it, the symptoms may continue to worsen before PTSD is identified.
 

How Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treated?

Effective PTSD treatment often includes a combination of medication and counseling. The most successful PTSD treatment experts are constantly developing innovative and holistic ways to treat all aspects of the disease.

Recovering individuals with PTSD can find healing by combining techniques such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with group counseling and peer support.

Because the original trauma happened in the past, it can be tempting to believe that symptoms will lighten over time, and healing will happen naturally. However, with untreated PTSD, this is simply not the case. Patients will need help to put an end to the cycle of reliving the traumatic experience. Professional therapists can utilize different interventions to bring relief and healing.

Who Gets PTSD?

PTSD is frequently experienced by the following people:
 

  • Soldiers
  • Firemen, policemen and other first responders
  • Victims of violent crime
  • Individuals exposed to the death or maiming of another
  • People who survive natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, fires or floods

Individuals who are exposed to persistent low levels of stress may also exhibit similar symptoms of PTSD. This could be the result of ongoing emotional or physical abuse or bullying.

If the cause of your ongoing PTSD symptoms is related to your job or work environment, maintaining employment and finding recovery can be an even greater challenge. Knowing your employee mental health benefits and seeking help as soon as possible are important steps to restoring your quality of life.

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Finding Help for PTSD

Often people you spend the most time with — especially at work — are the first to notice if something is not right. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, please call our 24-hour, toll-free helpline at 901-350-4575. Getting help is the best way to protect your job and invest in your future.

We are here to talk with you about your concerns and, when you are ready, to connect you with the best recovery resources for this devastating disease. Find the help you need to heal from PTSD and once again enjoy your relationships, your job and your life.


Sources

1 "How Common Is PTSD in Veterans?" US Department of Veterans Affairs. Accessed 30 October 2018.

2 "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." National Institute of Mental Health. February 2016.