PTSD is one of the most common disabilities veterans struggle with after returning to civilian life. Unfortunately, PTSD often goes undiagnosed or can have a late response and is referred to as delayed-onset PTSD, leading to not getting a PTSD disability claim.
Delayed-onset PTSD is a common situation where the person who experienced a traumatic event in their life doesn’t develop a PTSD diagnosis until at least six months after the event occurs.
People who are most at-risk experience some PTSD symptoms but not enough to meet the full diagnosis criteria (also known as subthreshold PTSD).
It could take years for the trauma to affect the person enough to become a full diagnosis in some cases. These cases are most often observed among the elderly but can happen to anyone- especially veterans.
So Why is it Hard to Get a PTSD Disability Claim?
Though much research has been done, it is still up in the air why PTSD can sometimes take a long time to present itself. Here is what we know:
Our brains are incredibly adaptive. When something traumatic happens in our lives, our brain might try to store that particular event away to protect itself. However, sometimes adding new stress to your life or a new trauma occurs, the prior trauma can spill out.
PTSD has many triggers from words, smells, sounds, visuals, stress, and loss. Any of these triggers can upset prior traumas and make PTSD more prominent. Your chances of developing PTSD are higher if these symptoms aren’t appropriately addressed for those dealing with slight symptoms.
Suppose you are at high risk for developing PTSD. In that case, it’s important to address your symptoms head-on with healthy coping strategies like speaking with a mental health professional and avoid turning to avoidance or substance use- which will likely make matters worse.
Here are some resources for veterans struggling with PTSD:
Vet Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)
VA PTSD line: 866-948-7880 or send an email to PTSDconsult@va.gov
Veteran Families United 1-800-342-9647 to speak to a counselor