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Can a workplace accident cause post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder may often come to mind when you think of soldiers coming back from battle, but what you may not realize is that PTSD can be a severe reaction to any type of stressful or traumatic situation. Everything from child abuse to the death of a loved one to an accident at the workplace can result in a condition that makes it difficult to function in everyday life. As many symptoms of PTSD relate to the place the incident occurred, it may be hard to earn a paycheck if the traumatic event happened at work.

Studies show that many workers deal with some sort of depression after minor and major injuries. The symptoms can be even worse when the incident involves a death or a gruesome injury such as a limb amputation. One of the most successful ways to head off PTSD after a traumatic incident is to get treatment early, but all too often this does not happen.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD can range in frequency and severity, but they must last at least one month from the initial onset to qualify for a diagnosis. Some common symptoms of PTSD that you should watch for after an accident in the workplace include the following:

  • Flashbacks, nightmares and memories that are upsetting and cause intense physical reactions such as nausea, pounding heart or sweating, or increased feelings of distress
  • Avoidance of things that remind you of the trauma, including the thoughts, places and activities that you associate with the event
  • Emotional numbness, isolation or total detachment from relationships and activities that used to be a big part of your life
  • Feelings of betrayal or mistrust
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings brought on by hopelessness or depression
  • Intense emotional arousal or increased anxiety that may show through angry outbursts, difficulty with concentration, trouble sleeping or hypervigilance

Many who suffer from PTSD turn to substance abuse to cope with the trauma that has happened rather than seek out the appropriate help. Emotional trauma the body cannot deal with may also exhibit through actual physical pain and aches.

What should you do if you fear you are suffering from PTSD?

If you witnessed or were involved in a traumatic event at your place of work and fear you are suffering from PTSD, getting treatment is imperative to your future quality of life. To determine if your treatment is covered by workers' compensation insurance, you may want to speak to an attorney about any questions you have.

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