June marks the start of National PTSD Awareness Month. PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, is a psychiatric condition that affects as many as 24.4 million Americans (or 8% of the population) at any given time.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that was first recognized and added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980. To this day, many continue to downplay the severity of the condition, which makes it harder for sufferers to pursue and obtain effective forms of psychiatric – as well as medical – treatment.
Individuals can develop PTSD for many different reasons. Some of the most common examples include witnessing and/or experiencing a life-threatening event such as sexual assault or any other type of violent, personal assault, combat/war, a natural disaster, car accidents, and terrorist incidents. Although these events are commonly linked to the development of PTSD, it is in no way an exhaustive list. Posttraumatic stress disorder is also frequently observed in individuals who experience major or sudden emotional losses.
Unsurprisingly, combat veterans are at a particularly high risk for developing PTSD. Since before (and even after) 1980, when PTSD was inducted into the DSM, countless combat vets with the disorder were discharged from service or removed from combat zones because they were thought of as “weak” or “unstable”. This proved to be a major obstacle for many veterans who needed treatment. Although posttraumatic stress disorder has been a recognized disorder for nearly 40 years, sufferers continue to face various social and medical obstacles while looking for help or pursuing psychiatric care and treatment.
According to PTSD United, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and offering resources to people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder – as well as their family members, caretakers and other loved ones – approximately 70% of adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Here are some other important PTSD facts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
Because people who experience traumatic events are at a greater risk for developing PTSD, it is important to know the signs and symptoms. The illness does not only cause outward symptoms, it also causes distinct changes in a person’s brain chemistry (such as its structure and function). If a medical professional observes sudden and unexpected changes like these in a patient, it can be a red flag for posttraumatic stress disorder. Some other signs to look out for – particularly for people with a history of trauma – include:
Galfand Berger has represented many clients who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder after experiencing different types of catastrophic incidents. Victims of gross medical negligence, workers struck by vehicles in active work zones, and people who sustain extreme injuries as a result of defective or unsafely designed products are just a few examples of those who are at a higher risk for developing PTSD.
If you or a loved one is experiencing some of the above posttraumatic stress disorder-related symptoms, please contact a doctor or psychiatric healthcare professional that may be able to help. If you believe your injuries are the result of another party’s negligence and have developed posttraumatic stress disorder because of it, it is critical to speak with an attorney who will advocate for your best interests.
The main focus of PTSD Awareness Month is to teach people about the disorder as well as to acknowledge well known and largely effective treatments. If you have questions or concerns, please contact a representative at our firm directly.
For personal injury victims, the stakes are high. The experienced personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia at Galfand Berger, LLP can help you get the answers you are seeking. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.