Workers' compensation: Police officers with cumulative PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with members of the military. Many people do not realize police officers in California and elsewhere are also susceptible to this disorder, although a slightly different form of it. While soldiers typically suffer PTSD from one traumatic incident, police can suffer cumulative PTSD that builds up over time. Although it is typically covered by workers' compensation insurance, proving the condition to be work-related could be challenging.

Because cumulative PTSD develops over time from experiencing frequent catastrophic events, the development of the condition might only be identified and treated at an advanced stage. Although police officers receive trauma counseling after incidents such as shootings that involve colleagues, the daily traumas are the circumstances that cause the buildup of PTSD throughout the officer's career. The longer this condition remains untreated, the more significant the threat a victim can be to him or herself and others.

Early intervention can only occur when signs of cumulative PTSD are recognized. These red flags include physical signs such as insomnia, fatigue, headaches, profuse sweating and twitching, among others. Behavioral signs include withdrawal from loved ones and friends, emotional outbursts, paranoia and the abuse of alcohol and other substances. Then there are the emotional signs such as fear, irritability, intense anger, depression and more.

Pursuing workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses might seem too much of a daunting task to a victim of cumulative PTSD. However, help is available from an experienced attorney who can assist with the complicated claims process. The California workers' compensation lawyer will know how to proceed to pursue recovery of the maximum benefits for this potentially life-threatening condition.

Source: inpublicsafety.com, "Police Officers Face Cumulative PTSD", Michelle Beshears, Accessed on April 20, 2018

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