How To Determine If A Veteran Has PTSD

Determine If A Veteran Has PTSD

How to Determine If A Veteran Has PTSD

Learning how to determine if a Veteran has PTSD can be an intimidating task. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is one of the most complex disorders treated by the VA,
and one of the hardest to diagnose. It is a mental disorder that develops when the individual
experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.

PTSD is a separate condition from the more general feeling of “post-traumatic stress.” For
example, Person A and Person B can both witness the same plane crash, but respond to it
differently. Person A may experience “post-traumatic stress” for a few weeks after witnessing
the crash – a bit like situational depression. Person B may be more affected by witnessing the
crash, and the extreme stress Person B experiences may actually alter his or her psychological
makeup. In such an instance, Person B’s post-traumatic stress will not go away with time. When
post-traumatic stress becomes a disorder, it usually worsens until it is treated.

Generally, you cannot know if you have PTSD or if you are experiencing post-traumatic stress
until a significant amount of time passes.


The symptoms of these two conditions are similar in many ways. The list of symptoms among
Veterans include:
– Hypervigilance,
– Depression,
– Anger,
– Loss of interest, and
– Flashbacks.

Triggering events usually cause these symptoms. Combat-related PTSD triggering events include
everyday things like war movies, fireworks displays, and reports of violent events on TV.
Length of time, transitory nature of the symptoms, and effect of the symptoms are the biggest
differences between PTS and PTSD.

In fact,  PTS is essentially situational depression. Situational depression occurs after an
adverse life event, such as the death of a loved one. Everyone gets depressed in these situations.
Some people recover in a reasonable amount of time – and what amount of time is “reasonable”
is different for everyone. Only the individual can answer the question of whether the length of
time stress has lasted indicates a more serious condition.


By the same token, everyone has good days and bad days in these situations. If the bad days far
outweigh the good days, a diagnosis of PTSD may be proper.

Individuals with PTSD often experience intrusive memories, such as avoiding situations that would
trigger them, experience negative changes in thinking and mood, and experience changes in their
physical and emotional reactions. Although, if an individual’s symptoms are noticeable yet not impairing
and/or he or she does not need medication to reach this level, the condition is either not PTSD, or
if it is PTSD, it is not severe enough to warrant a disability rating.


It is not totally clear why some individuals develop PTSD while others similarly situated simply
experience stress. However, doctors believe risk factors for PTSD include:
– Stressful or traumatic experiences in a lifetime, accordingly, depending on amount and severity;
– Inherited mental health risks, such as a family history of anxiety and depression;
– In addition to herited features of personality, often called “temperament;”
– Also, the way one’s brain regulates chemicals and hormones released by the body in response
to stress.

PTSD Disabilities To Help Determine If A Veteran Has PTSD

To follow up on this point, let’s take a closer look at the VA’s disability ratings for PTSD
victims. For this purpose, combat stress is the leading cause of VA PTSD claims.  Following are other causes, including witnessing or
being the victim of military sexual trauma and training accident-related PTSD.
● Firstly, 10%: Occasional flare-ups that can be controlled by medication;
● Then 30%: Monthly anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or memory loss that diminish work
● In addition 50%: Weekly social and/or vocational impairment; additional symptoms include
impaired judgment and inability to understand basic instructions.
● As well as, 70%: Daily impairment; additional symptoms include suicidal thoughts, illogical speech,
obsessive rituals, and ongoing depression.
● Lastly, 100%: Hourly impairment; additional symptoms include delusions and complete

Most Veterans are independent-minded people. They often tell themselves they are “fine” even
when they are seriously injured. That is especially true in brain injury claims. Statements from
friends, family, and coworkers often help establish the extent of PTSD disability.

Benefits are available for Veterans who struggle with PTSD. However, these benefits are not
easy to obtain. Because of this, a VA disability lawyer must basically fight two battles. The first is with VA
doctors, who are mostly government contractors, and who often cannot tell the difference
between post-traumatic stress and PTSD. Additionally, the second is with the claims examiners who evaluate
disability claims and often underestimate the victim’s level of disability.

Contact Diligent Attorneys

An attorney is a valuable partner in all phases of a disability claim. For a free consultation with
an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact the Cameron Firm, P.C. at 800-861-7262.  Otherwise,
fill out the contact box on our website. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. Therefore, it does not create an attorney-client