Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability?

Mental Health Disease Health News

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological condition that can be severe and potentially debilitating. There has been much debate over the years regarding “Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability”. Well, this is a tricky question to answer.

If you are seeking answers to the most asked question “Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability”, you have come to the right page. This blog covers everything that needs to be known about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Besides providing details on PTSD and disability, it lists some frequently asked questions about post-traumatic stress disorder answered by mental health experts. Continue reading to learn about post-traumatic stress disorder.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition, a kind of anxiety disorder, that affects people experiencing or witnessing traumatic event(s). This disorder does not impact everyone being exposed to severe or dangerous/traumatic life experiences.

For many people, the effects of a traumatic event on the body fade over time. But for people living with PTSD, some of the fight, flight, and freeze responses to traumatic events stays for long-term, almost as if they are being stuck in perpetual survival mode. 

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can affect mental, physical, social, and spiritual health and, in short, general well-being. Further in this post, you can get to know “Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability.”

What Are The Symptoms Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

The types of PTSD symptoms noted in the DSM-5- a manual on psychological conditions are:

Avoidance Symptoms:

This may include:

  • Trying to avoid any triggers or reminders of the traumatic event like going to places, doing activities, or meeting people who have been a part of the traumatic event.
  • Blocking thoughts of traumatic events or avoiding talking about them.

Intrusion Symptoms:

This may include:

  • Having flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event in the mind as if it is happening again.
  • Having nightmares or upsetting dreams about the traumatic event experienced in reality.
  • Dissociation.

Negative changes in symptoms related to mood and cognition:

This may include:

  • Being in a low mood
  • Feeling disconnected from loved ones and having difficulty maintaining close bonds with people
  • Experiencing memory issues, including forgetting important aspects of the traumatic event.

Symptoms related to hyperarousal and reactivity turbulence:

The changes in physical and emotional reactions- arousal symptoms, may include:

  • Irritability, anger outbursts, or aggressive behaviors
  • Sleep difficulty
  • Overwhelming shame 
  • Trouble concentrating.

 Pediatric PTSD patients who are aged 6 years or younger, may have symptoms like:

  • Frightening nightmares or dreams with or without aspects of a traumatic event
  • Re-enacting the whole traumatic event or some of its part while playing.

After going through severe symptoms, you might be thinking “Is Post Traumatic Disorder A Disability”. If so, read on to know whether or not PTSD is a disability.

Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability?

Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability?
Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability?

PTSD is a recognized mental health condition when it is caused by exposure to a traumatic event. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be considered a disability in some instances. PTSD is also considered a disability when one can’t hold a job and the condition interferes with one’s ability to take care of themselves.

PTSD is often associated with arms veterans and they have experienced trauma that can be physical, emotional, or mental. Hence, SSA categorizes PTSD as a shock or trauma- and stressor-related disorder. SSA shares that PTSD symptoms look like involuntary flashbacks to the disturbing event, mood, and conduct change, and amplified reactivity.

For some people, the disorder can increase the risk of developing highly disabling conditions such as anxiety disorder, depression, drug/alcohol abuse, and physical health issues. Usually, PTSD is a disability when the symptoms of PTSD meet specific criteria of disability and influence the daily life of the patient. The criteria are mentioned in the SSA’s Blue Book.

In many jurisdictions, PTSD is legally recognized as a disability, which may entitle individuals to certain protections and accommodations. The severity and impact of PTSD can differ from person to person. Some individuals may experience more profound symptoms than others.

In the United States, PTSD can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Not everyone with PTSD experiences it the same way, and the impact on one’s ability to function can vary widely. To determine the specific status of PTSD as a disability in a particular situation, it’s advisable to consult relevant laws and regulations or seek guidance from legal professionals.

If PTSD patients meet the following criteria, they can claim disability benefits and get relief from their disabling symptoms:

  • Medical documentation of mood and behavioral disturbances, avoidance of reminders/triggers of traumatic events, involuntary experiencing of traumatic events after the first experience, increase in reactivity and arousal, and exposure to death, violence, or serious injury.
  • A marked or extreme limitation on mental functions like interaction with others, understanding, replying, and remembering information; concentrating or having a persistent/maintained pace, and self-adaptation and management.
  • Medical documentation of the existence of serious PTSD over 2 years and evidence of ongoing treatment and minimal capacity to adapt to environmental changes or demands of a daily part of life. 

In conclusion, while PTSD can be considered a disability in some cases, it requires meeting specific criteria and thorough documentation of its impact on one’s life to qualify for disability benefits. Hence, seeking guidance from medical professionals and legal experts can be invaluable in this process. 

How Do You Overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be treated to let patients regain a sense of control over their lives. The different treatment options to help overcome the disorder include:


The psychotherapies used in the treatment of PTSD include:

  • Cognitive therapy: It is talk therapy with a psychologist to recognize the cognition patterns, and the way of thinking that keeps the patient stuck in negative emotions. Often, it is performed along with exposure therapy.
  • Exposure therapy: It is a behavioral therapy that helps PTSD patients learn how to safely face frightening flashbacks and nightmares so that they can effectively cope with them. One way is to use a virtual reality program to re-enter the setting in which the patient has gone through trauma.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: This is a combination of exposure therapy and the use of a series of guided eye movements. It helps the patients process their traumatic memories and change how they react to them.


Several kinds of medications can help improve PTSD symptoms. These include antidepressants for treating depression, anti-anxiety drugs for treating anxiety, and Prazosin for reducing or suppressing nightmares.

Thinking about how to treat disabling symptoms of PTSD? Move on to the next section “Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability.”


Can dogs have post-traumatic stress disorder?

Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability In Dogs? Yes. Post-traumatic stress disorder can happen in dogs if they have gone through an extremely traumatic event such as losing their owner and physical/emotional abuse.
Working security dogs who have spent their lives serving in the field of police or military are likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Other potential causes of PTSD in dogs include abandonment, natural disasters, a major accident, and fighting with other dogs or being attacked by other animals.

Can post-traumatic stress disorder cause memory loss?

One notable aspect of this disorder is memory impairment or loss. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects the processing of memory and its arrangement within the brain. PTSD patients commonly encounter memory gaps at the time of their traumatic incident and the repercussions of their memory loss go beyond mere forgetfulness.
Moreover, they may be burdened with mental and sensory stimuli from their past episodes and experience distressing flashbacks which can influence the processing of their fresh memories. [4]

Can post-traumatic stress disorder cause seizures?

There is an ongoing search for a solid link between post-traumatic stress disorder and seizures. However, some evidence reveals PTSD patients may have physical manifestations such as higher susceptibility to seizures. So far, some theories explain the connection between PTSD and seizures. One theory suggests that PTSD patients experience chronic stress and hyperarousal which can alter the brain’s electrical activity, thereby triggering seizures.

Can post-traumatic stress disorder cause hallucinations?

Hallucination is not considered a classic symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, but PTSD patients can experience it. Research suggests auditory hallucinations in the form of voices are possible to be seen among people with PTSD. Will PTSD hallucinations count for disability? Get the answer to it by switching to the section Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability?

Is post-traumatic stress disorder curable?

Just as most mental illnesses do not have any cure, post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t curable. However, PTSD patients can have their symptoms treated or resolved and improve their condition significantly. By addressing the root cause of the disorder, the patients can resume living their best-quality lives. If you are worried whether living with PTSD would mean being disabled, read the section Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Disability?