"Why should a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) contact a qualified veteran's disability lawyer?"

As a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD, you are fighting an uphill battle: not only are you learning to manage the effects of PTSD, but you're also trying to convince the Veterans Administration to recognize that your medical condition was a result of war-time trauma. And without the assistance of a veteran's disability lawyer, there is a strong likelihood that your veteran's disability claim may be inappropriately handled, mismanaged and ultimately denied.

If you are a veteran of Vietnam, Korea, Iraq or Afghanistan, and you believe that you are suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, this article will answer a lot of your questions and hopefully guide you toward the needed legal representation you will require in the upcoming months.

First, it's important that you fully understand the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder as it relates to soldiers, what causes the condition, and the most common symptoms of the disorder.

"What is the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder?"

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can affect military personnel after they have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. What defines a traumatic event is different for every soldier. Typically, it is a war-time event that you witness or experience that is distressing or troubling. During this type of event, you think that your life or others' lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.

Anyone who lives through a traumatic event can develop PTSD, but a soldier who is deployed during a time of combat will most likely be able to attribute the disorder to one of several factors.

"What can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and veterans?"

These obviously aren't all of the possible PTSD causes in veterans, but it is representative of some very strong factors that may be involved. We have spoken with several veterans who have listed alternative causes of their post-traumatic stress disorder that are unique to their personal military experiences and equally justified.

The symptoms of PTSD in veterans are wide-ranging. It's important that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms listed below, as well as list any symptoms you are experiencing that are not discussed in this article. Documenting your PTSD symptoms and discussing them with a doctor will be imperative to your potential veteran's disability case.

"What are the common symptoms of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder?"

The most common symptom is "reliving the event," or "re-experiencing the event." Soldiers who experience this symptom will often say that the bad memories of the event can come back at anytime, either while sleeping or awake. This type of remembrance of a terrible war-time event is often referred to as a "flashback."

In some cases there may be a "trigger" that causes the veteran to re-live the event. These triggers can either be visual or audial:

  --the sound of a car that backfires
  --images on television of an accident or wartime coverage

A second type of symptom commonly related to PTSD in veterans is "avoidance."  War veterans may avoid talking about or engaging in any type of activity that reminds them of the war:

  --talking to or being with other veterans
  --watching movies that depict war or violence

A third symptom veteran's with PTSD often experience is "numbness." Veterans with this symptom will find it hard to express their feelings with regard to their military service:

   --not expressing positive or loving feelings and shy away from new relationships
   --not participating or interested in activities you once enjoyed
   --not being able to recall or talk about periods or specific parts of the war

Last, veteran's with PTSD may experience a condition known as "hyperarousal." This causes a veteran to always be on alert or on the lookout for potential danger that may or may not exist.  It manifests itself in several ways:

   --quick to anger or be irritable
   --a difficult time falling or staying asleep
   --difficulty concentrating
   --fear for safety
   --overly startled when surprised

Other common symptoms associated with post-war PTSD can include: drinking and drug abuse, physical ailments, feelings of hopelessness, and employment problems.

Treatment of Post-traumatic stress disorder

The list of symptoms associated with post-war PTSD may seem overwhelming, but fortunately the condition and the veteran afflicted by it can be helped through treatment.

The treatment that has proved most successful is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). There is also a type of drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is very helpful in reducing PTSD symptoms in veterans. 

Veteran's PTSD Legal Help 

If you are a veteran that was denied your VA compensation claim for PTSD, or if you feel you are entitled to a higher rating, recent laws have changed that now allow VA lawyer to assist you after you receive a denial or rating decision (RD). 

Our veterans disability lawyers are able to do several things to help you win your claim:

  • Combat or general exposure to the rigors of military life
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Prisoner of War
  • Humvee accident
  • Helicopter or transport accident
  • Witness to injury or death of a fellow soldier
    • We can review your decision to ensure that the regional office or BVA did not make a mistake
    • We can write a brief detailing how the VA wrongly decided the case based on case law
    • We evaluate your claim in order to highlight its strengths and improve upon its weaknesses
    • We gather required evidence to improve the chances of having your claim approved
    • We can review the evidence and compare it to the ratings to see if you are entitled to a higher percentage then what you received from the Veterans Administration
James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller