The long-term effects of PTSD on war veterans

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Social Security Disability

By now, we are all familiar with the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among our veteran population. Many veterans struggle with both short and long-term effects of PTSD.

PTSD is a result of experiencing a traumatic event. The event can be experienced directly or indirectly.

Common symptoms of PTSD

Untreated PTSD can result in many negative effects. Veterans suffering from PTSD often have a hard time doing daily tasks and acting in a socially acceptable manner.

When a veteran suffers from PTSD, their bodies are always in a fight or flight mode. We all depend on hormones to regulate our stress levels, but veterans with PTSD stay in a hyperaware state, meaning they are always looking for perceived threats. This often leads to overreactions to everyday situations.

This can destroy relationships with family and friends. A veteran returning home to a spouse and children can also find their relationship with their child deteriorating.

Since PTSD involves issues with trust, communication and impulse control, a veteran may have trouble getting along with their spouse and maintaining a healthy relationship with them and/or children.

Isolation and substance abuse

PTSD makes it hard for veterans to trust others. This results in isolating themselves and pushing away the ones they love.

Additionally, many veterans use drugs and alcohol to cope with the feelings of anxiety and depression from their PTSD upon returning home. This causes many negative long-term health consequences such as heart disease, liver disease or cancer. Lack of close, personal relationships can also impact physical health.

The loved ones of veterans with PTSD might not understand what the veteran is going through or how their PTSD affects them. They may become angry, frustrated or impatient with the veteran for what they view as an unwillingness to get better.

PTSD can last a lifetime. Veterans can still have PTSD symptoms 50 or more years after leaving miliary service.

These symptoms can include having nightmares, staying socially isolated or still being in the “fight or flight” mode.

Sometimes PTSD symptoms can even increase with age. This can happen if a veteran obtains treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, no longer having these substances to numb the pain.

Older veterans who have not worked or are retired also often have more free time, which sometimes only means more time to think about the bad memories that contributed to or caused PTSD.

Is your PTSD a disability?

It should come as no surprise that veterans dealing with these types of PTSD symptoms typically have trouble finding and maintaining employment. PTSD is sometimes considered a disability by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

If you are a military veteran in Florida and your PTSD is considered a disability, you could receive benefits through the VA and potentially receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

There are different requirements to qualify for each program and several steps involved with applying. However, receiving benefits could be what you need to stay financially stable while you continue to work on your PTSD.


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