PTSD, or Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition resulting from a terrifying or traumatic event experienced by a person over a length of time, or after a one-time occurrence.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can affect the person who experienced the event first-hand, and or it can affect those who witnessed the event.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common among civilian contractors injured in Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan. Frequently, Maitland Florida and Titusville Florida Defense Base Act law firm Garfinkel Schwartz has helped clients regain lost and denied medical benefits that provided needed treatment and care for the problems associated with PTSD.
Who Are the Victims of PTSD?
A wide variety of individuals can experience frightening events and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can become an unfortunate result from any one of the instances. Horrifying events such as rape, assault, or a threat to a person’s life can trigger PTSD. A suddent explosion, an IED, gunfire, a physical attack, even mental cruelty inflicted intentionally upon an individual, physical torture, can trigger the mental condition known as PTSD.
Men, women and children can be victims of such events as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has no age, gender or socio-economic boundaries. Military personnel serving in combat situations can also suffer from PTSD.
Individuals experiencing combat situations and witnessing injury and death one time, or over a long period of time can become mentally entrapped within an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, stress and terror.
Civilians contracted by U.S. Defense Contractors frequently experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and frequently are undiagnosed. These civilians work side-by-side with the military or come in to work in countries after the military are sent home. Civilians experience the same trauma and threats as military personnel. Yet when civilians return home, there is often a lack of awareness or knowledge of PTSD to recognize that the mental anguish experienced was indeed an effect of experiences overseas.
Very little has been documented about the mental and physical impact on civilians working in support of these military operations.
When Was PTSD First Diagnosed?
Post-traumatic stress disorder became a mental health diagnosis in 1980, but the human reaction to severe trauma is documented throughout history. During World War I, soldiers suffered from “shell shock” which at the time was thought to be a physical ailment resulting from the shock to the body from the shells exploding around them.
In later armed conflicts, the term “battle fatigue” was used to explain a soldier’s depression and mental reaction from exposure to the traumatic events of combat. As the study of trauma increased over the years, it is well documented that experiencing such traumatic events can have a profound impact on the individuals involved. Not everyone reacts to trauma in the same way, but for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the mental and ensuing physical side effects can be devastating.
Civilians With PTSD
Until recently, it has been difficult to pinpoint exact figures on civilian Defense Base Act claims for PTSD. Out of the Shadows; The Health and Well-Being of Private Contractors Working in Conflict Environments by Molly Dunigan, Carrie M. Farmer, Rachel M. Burns, Allison Hawks, and Claude Messan Setodji published by Rand Corporation in December 2013, provides insight to some of the numbers.
According to the report, 25% of the civilians surveyed met the probable symptoms for PTSD. Of that 25%, however, only 28% sought treatment in the 12 months before participation in the survey.
In the future stories and features about PTSD, the symptoms of PTSD will be discussed. We’ll look at why more civilians working overseas have not sought help.
Call Us for Help With Denied Medical Care
Civilian contractors, family members of contractors: no matter who you are, no matter how bad the challenge, the fear, the discomfort may seem, if you have had medical care, medical claims, benefits, or compensation suddenly denied, or cut off, call Garfinkel Schwartz for a confidential and private consultation.
If you have questions about the Defense Base Act law and your medical coverage following an injury or traumatic experience while working as a contractor, a “sub” in Iraq or Afghanistan or other areas of conflict overseas, reach out to Garfinkel Schwartz: We fight for your rights, and we’re here to help, one family at a time.