Harlan Still & Koch

Mental disorders include trauma and stressor-related disorders


People in Missouri and nationwide spent the Fourth of July holiday celebrating our nation's independence. This independence wouldn't be possible if not for the brave men and women who have fought and are still fighting to preserve our nation's security and freedom. However, servicemembers often witness traumatic incidents. The damage of witnessing these occurrences can have serious effects on a person psychologically.

Under the Social Security Administration's "Listing of Impairments," if a person has a trauma- and stressor-related disorder that has a significant effect on their ability to function, they may seek Social Security disability benefits. Of course, it's not just servicemembers that can experience a trauma and stressor-related disorder. Anyone who witnesses a traumatic or stressful incident, or who learns of a loved one who has been the victim of a traumatic incident, may experience trauma and stressor-related disorders if certain symptoms are present.

There are various symptoms that could indicate a person has a trauma- and stressor-related disorder. Such symptoms may include:

  • Upsetting memories
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks to the traumatic incident
  • Avoidant behavior
  • Reduced participation in important activities
  • Persistent fear or anger
  • Unable to feel positive emotions
  • Feeling anxious
  • Being irritable, aggressive or easily startled
  • Diminished ability to concentrate

This list is not all-exhaustive; there may be other symptoms related to a person's specific trauma and stressor-related disorder. If a person's mental disorder is so severe that it prevents a person from being able to hold down a job, they may want to apply for Social Security disability benefits. These benefits are awarded to those who have a disabling condition that prevents them from working for a year or more or is projected to be fatal. The application process can be difficult, and many initial applications for SSD benefits are denied. Fortunately, there is an SSD appeals process in place for those who want to contest the SSA's decision if necessary.

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