VA Mental Health Claims
Veterans have an increased risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on exposure to traumatic events while in service. Roughly three out of ten combat veterans suffer from PTSD after returning from action, while another two to three percent suffer from partial PTSD later in their lives.
Veterans suffering PTSD often suffer from additional mental disorders. These include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Many service members suffering from PTSD experience major depression in concurrence with the PTSD. The compound effects of multiple disorders can be very dangerous and render veterans disabled.
Veterans do not just suffer from PTSD after their service. There are several other mental illnesses that negatively affect the lives of veterans, even those that were not exposed to the horrors of combat. These separate mental illnesses can still be the focus of a veteran’s claim or appeal without needing to include evidence of PTSD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder refers to psychological, emotional and physical symptoms caused by traumatic events or “stressors.” While combat-related PTSD is the common form of the illness, many veterans develop PTSD from non-combat trauma such as physical/sexual assaults or training accidents. The condition affects each veteran differently, ranging from flashbacks, anxiety attacks and nightmares, to paranoia or a feeling of numbness. For more information on PTSD and how Centonzio Law can assist you in your disability claim appeal, please read our page on PTSD.
Anxiety disorders have been shown to cause panic attacks, irrational fear, compulsion, obsession and increases in heart or breathing rates. These symptoms can result in difficulty concentrating, difficulty functioning in social interactions, and a desire to restrict one’s daily activities. Some veterans may be unable to function independently in any setting outside his or her place of dwelling.
Clinical depression can manifest from traumatic events or it can be caused by genetic or biological factors. Symptoms are known to last for two weeks and include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or ideations, exhaustion, difficulty making decisions, weight changes, insomnia, and sleeping too much. Veterans suffering from depression often lack energy and lose interest in activities he or she used to enjoy. Depression can cause a veteran to withdraw from social settings and functions, failing to interact even with family and friends.
Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as Manic Depression)
Bipolar disorder causes a veteran to cycle through depressive states and high states (mania). Some veterans experience both cycles at the same time. Mania causes euphoria, anger, and diminished judgment. Symptoms of mania include, but are not limited to, sleeplessness, decreased attention span, aggressive behavior, and rushed speech. In severe cases, mania may lead to rage, psychotic delusions or hallucinations. The depressive state causes symptoms in line with clinical depression. Veterans suffering from bipolar disorder tend to engage in dangerous behavior like substance abuse, risky or unprotected sexual encounters, and uncontrollable spending. Suicidal thoughts or ideations and suicide attempts are also very common.
Schizophrenia may make it difficult or nearly impossible to interact with other people, or to concentrate and think coherently. A veteran with schizophrenia may have trouble paying attention and recalling and understanding information. Additionally, it may include random behavior, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and catatonia. Schizophrenia can cause a loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from others, loss of motivation, and inability to care for oneself.
Are We Able to Represent You in Your VA disability Appeal?
Our team will work to prove service-connection for your mental illness. If the mental condition was caused by a traumatic event while in service and it was not initially diagnosed, you may still be eligible for benefits. For a free consultation about mental impairments and psychiatric disabilities, send us a message or give our office a call.