Have Questions About the Disability Claims Process for Social Security or Veterans Benefits? Check Out Our FAQs
Dealing with the disability application or appeals process always comes with plenty of questions. Whether your questions are about Social Security or VA Disability, here are some of the questions we hear the most at our Omaha law firm.
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What Are the Causes of Multiple Sclerosis and How is it Treated?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered an unpredictable and debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system. The body's own immune system attacks the myelin coating that protects the nerve fibers and interrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. But, what are the causes of multiple sclerosis and how is it treated? Keep reading to find out.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the severity of MS and lists it in the Neurological section of its Blue Book. But even though this disease is included in the listing of impairments, getting a disability claim approved for MS isn't always easy. That's why it's helpful to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer to step you through the claims process and advocate on your behalf.
What Are the Causes of Multiple Sclerosis?
The exact causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown. However, researchers believe there are four main factors that may influence the development of MS:
- Genetic factors. Researchers believe that several genes factor into MS. You may be at an increased risk of developing MS if you have a close relative with the disease. Additionally, if one parent has MS, there is a two to five percent chance that any children will get the disease.
- Infectious factors. Researchers are studying the possibility that bacteria and viruses cause MS, and they're looking specifically at the measles virus, human herpes virus, and the Epstein-Barr virus. Viruses can cause inflammation and demyelination—the breakdown of myelin that protects nerve fibers. Researchers think it's possible that a virus could be an underlying cause of MS.
- Environmental factors. Vitamin D is believed to play a role in protecting against MS. The farther away you live from the equator, the greater your risk of developing this disease. Because sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D for the body, researchers think there's a link between exposure to sunlight and a reduced risk of getting MS. For example, people who live in northern states are twice as likely to develop MS as those who live in Texas or Louisiana.
- Immunologic factors. When people suffer from MS, their immune system fails, and it attacks the body's central nervous system. Researchers don't know why the immune system targets and attacks the myelin coating of the nerve fibers.
Types and Symptoms of MS
MS is considered a progressive disease. The symptoms of MS worsen over time and become increasingly disabling. Ultimately, a patient will suffer the loss of many body functions even if they have few symptoms. Each person experiences the symptoms of MS differently, and while some people face ongoing functional deterioration, others live for long periods of time without serious symptoms. The following highlights some of the different types of MS:
- Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). RRMS is considered the most common form of MS, and approximately 85 percent of people who suffer from MS are first diagnosed with it. When new symptoms occur, patients with RRMS have flare-ups, relapses, or exacerbations. Following acute attacks, patients usually have a partial or complete recovery called remissions.
- Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS). For patients suffering from SPMS, the symptoms will get worse over time whether or not they experience relapses or remissions. Most patients who are initially diagnosed with RRMS will ultimately develop SPMS.
- Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS). Only about 10 percent of people who suffer from MS will develop PPMS. It presents initially as slowly worsening symptoms and reduced neurologic function with no remissions or relapses.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS). This is a rare form of MS, and only about five percent of individuals suffering from the condition have PRMS. Patients with PRMS see steadily worsening symptoms from the very beginning with acute relapses, with or without recovery.
Patients who suffer from MS cope with a variety of symptoms that can be both challenging and disabling. These symptoms, which can impact many parts of the body, include:
- Loss of hearing
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Problems swallowing and chewing food
- Problems with speech or slurred speech
- Issues with memory and concentration
- Issues with depression
- Problems with coordination and walking
- Problems with bladder and bowels
- Problems with double vision and/or loss of vision
- Problems with tremors
- Problems with cognition
Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
The main goal in treating MS is to slow down the progression of the disease, minimize symptoms during a flare-up, and improve functionality. Drugs that help slow the advancement of the disease are called disease-modifying medications. One drug approved in 2012 for people suffering from MS was Teriflunomide (Aubagio). One study found that people with relapsing MS who took Teriflunomide showed decreased progression of the disease and had fewer relapses.
In 2013, another disease-modifying drug was approved for those suffering from MS. Designed for those with RRMS, Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) helps stop the body's immune system from attacking itself and destroying the myelin coating on the nerve fibers. Additionally, because myelin destruction impacts the communication between the nerves, a body's ability to move is often affected. Studies found that the drug Dalfampridine (Ampyra) increased walking speed in people with MS.
Contact Cuddigan Law for MS Disability Benefits
If you've been diagnosed with MS and the SSA determines that your condition severely limits your physical and mental ability to do routine, typical activities and prevents you from holding a job, it may grant disability benefits. Cuddigan Law handles Social Security Disability claims for clients who need assistance with their applications or the appeals process if their claim was denied. Contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free about your situation.
Can I Keep Working With Multiple Sclerosis?
While MS patients may continue working with multiple sclerosis for years after their diagnosis, the disease is often aggravated by stress. Both mental and physical labor can bring on physical symptoms, making it nearly impossible to tell when the benefits of working outweigh the problems caused by your job.
Cognitive Conditions Make Working With Multiple Sclerosis More Difficult
In addition to pain, immobility, and other physical symptoms, MS sufferers commonly experience mental changes caused by chronic illness, side effects of medications, frustration with their limitations, or even the condition itself, making it harder to keep working with multiple sclerosis. Patients may suffer mood changes, confusion, irritability, and forgetfulness. In addition, many people struggle with extreme fatigue and the need to rest for long periods.
If you are experiencing cognitive or emotional changes as a result of MS, you may be eligible for Social Security disability payments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your ability to keep working with multiple sclerosis despite your condition. This is called your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC for mental side effects may include your:
- Cognitive capacity. Memory loss and lack of concentration are common in MS patients, so you should outline any limitations you have experienced in your ability to remember, understand, and carry out instructions. If you have difficulty sleeping or are so tired that you have difficulty finishing tasks, your sleep disturbances and fatigue may qualify you for benefits.
- Social capacity. Extreme mental or emotional changes may make it difficult to get along with others or conform to social conventions in the workplace. Also, anxiety about your condition can make going into your workplace unnecessarily stressful. Additionally, depression is a common symptom of MS, and it's important that this be documented in your claim.
- Learning capacity. The SSA will consider if there are any other jobs you could do before they approve you for benefits.
Call Cuddigan Law for Help Getting MS Disability Benefits
Many people are denied SSDI the first time they apply. Usually, this is because they don't provide all the necessary documentation to support their diagnosis. Let Cuddigan Law help you. We'll assist in documenting your condition, and we'll work with your treating medical providers to describe the full extent of your limitations. We know exactly how much these disability benefits mean to you. If we accept your case, we will take all steps within the law to help you get them. Learn more in our free booklet, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim. If MS is making it impossible for you to work, contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free.
Answers to Some of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About MS
Whenever a person is diagnosed with a disease or disorder that will change the way they live life, they likely have many questions about the issues and challenges they'll face and how to best manage life moving forward. Here are some clarifying answers to frequently asked questions about MS.
What Are the Warning Signs of MS?
The warning signs of MS aren't always obvious, and they're different for every patient. Symptoms can be intermittent in the early stages of this disease—and a person may experience one symptom for a while and then no symptoms for months or years. However, here's a brief look at some symptoms that are the most common first signs of the disease:
- Weakness and fatigue. Approximately 80 percent of people diagnosed with MS have unexpected muscle weakness in the early stages of the disease. This weakness usually begins in the legs, and the patient may feel numbness or tingling in the limbs. They may experience severe exhaustion that goes on for a long period of time.
- Vision problems. An early sign of MS is a problem with eyesight—in fact, it's often the very first symptom of someone developing MS. This disease can cause inflammation of the optic nerve, and a person may experience blurry vision or double vision at the onset of MS. Additionally, there may be lesions in the area that controls eye movement, and a patient may have blindness in one eye.
- Memory complications. It's common for a person with MS to have cognitive problems because this disease impacts the brain. Patients may have a shorter attention span, memory issues, and trouble being organized. However, fewer than ten percent of people with an MS diagnosis suffer from cognitive issues severe enough to impact their daily routine.
- Bladder problems. A person with MS may experience frequent urination, strong urges to go to the bathroom, or incontinence.
Is There a Special Diet That Can Improve MS Symptoms?
There isn't a special diet recommended for people suffering from MS. However, certain foods and approaches to eating have been shown to help improve some of the symptoms of MS. Here's a brief look at some of the findings regarding diet and MS:
- A diet that incorporates very few vegetables but is high in sugar, salt, and fat has been linked to an increased risk of developing MS. Additionally, those who are obese have a higher risk. Thus, there may be indications that diet could play a role in developing this disease.
- While researchers haven't discovered a diet to cure MS or slow or reverse the damage of this disease, some dietary regimens have been helpful for managing symptoms. More specifically, those diets that were found to be helpful did so in reducing fatigue. Researchers have found that a nutritional plan low in fat, sugar, and processed foods but high in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is considered a "common-sense approach" for people dealing with MS. This type of diet helps reduce fatigue, and if a patient adheres to this diet for an extended period of time, it can help improve some of the other symptoms of MS, including bowel and bladder problems. Additionally, eating within these parameters can help improve mental and emotional health.
Can Women With MS Still Have Children?
Having MS doesn't prevent a woman from becoming pregnant or having a safe, normal pregnancy. And researchers have no evidence that MS interferes with fertility. In fact, pregnancy is linked to an MS remission—especially when the mother is in the second and third trimesters. Pregnancy seems to have a slightly protective effect on a woman's MS symptoms; however, about six months after the birth of the child, there's a slightly higher risk of an MS relapse.
Will People With MS End Up in a Wheelchair?
It's not true that people who suffer from MS will rely on a wheelchair for mobility. In fact, for a great majority of MS patients, this won't be the case. Many people with this disease are able to walk without help and even engage in moderate exercise. Because there are disease-modifying drugs and treatments available, more patients stay mobile for longer periods of time. However, patients with advanced conditions who can still walk may choose to use a cane, scooter, or wheelchair to prevent falling or to conserve energy.
Cuddigan Law Can Help
If your MS makes it difficult for you to sustain gainful employment and you need disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the attorneys at Cuddigan Law can help. We offer skilled legal advice to step you through the application process to help you get the benefits you need and deserve. If your claim is denied, we can help you file an appeal. We know exactly how much these disability benefits mean to you. If we accept your case, we will take all steps within the law to help you get them. Learn more in our free booklet, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim. If MS is making it impossible for you to work, contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free.
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What do I need to qualify for MS disability benefits?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered a qualifying disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, a diagnosis of MS is not enough to show that you are disabled. Read on to learn what you need to qualify for MS disability benefits in Nebraska.
MS is a progressive disease, and patients with early-stage MS may have few symptoms. They are usually able to continue working for years or even decades after the diagnosis. However, the symptoms progress with time. In some patients, MS becomes completely debilitating and prevents any type of work activity.
How the SSA Evaluates MS Applicants
When evaluating an MS applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the SSA will first look to see if the applicant meets the impairment criteria listing 11.09 (multiple sclerosis) in the Blue Book. An applicant who meets a listing is automatically approved for SSDI.
To qualify, you must provide evidence that you experience disorganization of motor function in two extremities that limit your ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities. However, if you don't meet the MS criteria in the Blue Book listing, the SSA will consider your age, education, and work experience and will assign you a residual functional capacity (RFC) level—a medical assessment of the type of work you can do. They will look at marked functional limitation in the following areas:
- Interacting with others
- Concentrating or maintaining pace
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information
- Adapting or managing yourself
The evidence you provide must show how these limitations interfere with your ability to work or prevent you from working at all. If the SSA determines that you can't do any of the work you've done in the past or any other type of work, you will be approved for disability benefits.
Contact Cuddigan Law for MS Disability Benefits in Nebraska
If you've been diagnosed with MS, it's still up to you to prove how this disease affects your ability to work. Many people who are unable to work are denied SSDI because they haven't provided adequate documentation about their disability. Obtaining legal representation from a skilled and experienced Social Security disability attorney is your best chance of submitting a successful claim and receiving MS disability benefits in Nebraska.
Contact Cuddigan Law to get help filing your claim. Our disability attorneys can help you document your condition, and we'll file your application in our office. If you've been denied SSDI for MS, don't give up. You have sixty days to appeal, and our attorneys can assist you. If you're seeking help with your disability claim, contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free.
Is it possible to get Social Security disability benefits for migraines?
Yes, it is. However, it’s not easy. Migraine headaches are not included in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book listing of impairments, but you can get Social Security (SS) disability for migraines if you can provide documentation that your migraines are severe and frequent enough to prevent you from holding a job and are diagnosed as primary headache disorder.
Evidence Needed for Migraine Disability
The SSA wants proof that you need disability for your migraines. This proof comes in many forms, including a doctor’s medical report diagnosing the condition, lab test results, and exams that exclude other conditions that could cause the headaches.
At a minimum, the SSA needs:
- Documentation from your doctor verifying your diagnosis of primary headache disorder
- Notes from your doctor detailing the frequency and severity of your migraines
- Medical records showing you've tried treatment and still suffer disabling effects from your migraines
- A headache journal with specific details about your migraine attacks
Information to Include in Your Headache Journal
A headache journal supplements your medical records and gives the SSA information about how migraines affect your ability to function. Making notes about your symptoms, the duration of the migraine, the intensity of the pain, the medication you take, and if you made a trip to the doctor or emergency room for medical attention supports the diagnosis that your migraines are a medically determinable impairment of a primary headache disorder.
Every time you get a migraine, you should write down the following details:
- The date the migraine occurred and the duration
- What you believe triggered the migraine
- Any medications you took and how they affected you
- The severity of the pain
- Any symptoms other than a headache
- What you did during the headache
- What you were not able to do because of the migraine
- Any effects before or after the headache
- How long it took to recover from the episode
The more detail you can give about symptoms, including if you were nauseous, dizzy, or couldn’t get out of bed, the more information you give your doctor to support the diagnosis. Bring the journal with you to each appointment, and make sure the doctor enters the information into your medical records.
Cuddigan Law for Your Migraine Disability Claim
If you suffer from migraine headaches that make it difficult to work, you may want to apply for SS disability benefits. However, submitting a successful claim can be a difficult and frustrating process. Hiring a disability attorney can be the best way to help ensure a successful outcome for your claim.
The trusted attorneys at Cuddigan Law are skilled and experienced in SS disability law and have handled disability claims for over 25 years. If you need help with your application or a denied claim, contact Cuddigan Law by filling out the form on our website or by calling our Omaha or Lincoln office to speak with an intake specialist for free. For more tips, request a free copy of our booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.
Can the VA take control of my finances if I have a mental illness?
It’s possible that a veteran can be found mentally incompetent if he has a mental disability, is of advanced age, or is physically frail or weak. For the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to determine that an individual is incompetent, there must be medical evidence to support this or a court ruling.
If you’re found to be incompetent and unable to handle your financial affairs, the VA may appoint someone to serve as a VA fiduciary under its Veterans Fiduciary Program. This person is similar to a guardian or representative of someone’s estate.
Responsibilities of a Fiduciary
It’s important to understand the role of a fiduciary and the limitations of this person’s authority. A fiduciary must use the veteran’s VA benefits for their personal care and/or well-being. The veteran must be provided the same standard of living like any other person with similar finances, and the fiduciary must be sure the veteran receives the appropriate medical and mental health care.
It’s also important to understand the following limitations of the fiduciary:
- The individual isn't appointed by the court.
- They have the authority only over the benefits a veteran receives from the VA. Sometimes, this authority extends to managing all of the veteran’s financial affairs if their VA benefits are combined with other funds.
- The VA—and not the court—has oversight for this arrangement.
How the VA Determines Incompetence
Most often, the VA relies on the results of the veteran’s Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam to determine if he’s incompetent. The C&P exam is a standard assessment taken after you apply for disability.
In this report, a doctor provides a medical opinion about your disability and whether it’s service-connected, as well as information about your mental ability to handle money. Additionally, the VA may also look at the results of your regular doctor visits to determine your ability to handle VA benefits. Usually, it’s the C&P examiner who brings up the issue of incompetence—often during an exam where a veteran is looking for an increase in his rating for a mental condition.
While it’s usually up to the VA rater who reviews the case to make the determination of incompetence, the rater most often agrees with the opinion of the examiner.
Contact Our Experienced VA Disability Lawyers For A Consultaiton Today
The experienced VA Disability Lawyers at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices veterans have made to protect this country. They understand that PTSD or any mental illness is a debilitating condition that can severely and negatively impact a veteran’s life.
If your C&P exam results indicate mental incompetence, or you’d like a free evaluation of your disability case, call Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys will answer your questions and ensure that you have accurate information about your rights as they relate to your mental health diagnosis. Our attorneys have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise on your rights. Contact us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.
How does the VA Evaluate My PTSD Using a PLC-5 form?
If you’re a veteran seeking financial assistance from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for PTSD, you’ll need to fill out a PCL-5 form. It helps assess the existence and severity of PTSD symptoms, and you’ll likely be given it prior to your Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. There are three versions of this form—the PCL-M is for military personnel—and you’ll answer questions about “stressful military experiences.”
Using the PLC-M for Your Evaluation
When you arrive for your C&P exam for PTSD, you'll probably be given the PLC-5 (PCL-M) paper exam. This exam is a PTSD checklist that has approximately 20 questions. It’s used as a self-screening tool—or self-reporting tool—to assist in diagnosing PTSD.
The PCL-5 helps to:
- Monitor the changes in symptoms during and after a patient is treated
- Screen patients for PTSD
- Make a provisional (temporary) diagnosis of PTSD
The PCL-5 can be completed in about 5–10 minutes and is usually filled out in the waiting room. Veterans are asked to rate certain symptoms over the last month using the following 0–4 scale:
- 0 = Not at all
- 1 = A little bit
- 2 Moderately
- 3 Quite a bit
- 4 Extremely
Using these scores, the C&P examiner can make a “provisional diagnosis” of PTSD. For a veteran to have a probable diagnosis of PTSD, he must have given a "2 or higher rating in each of the four symptoms groups." Also, if the veteran scored 38 or higher after answering all questions, it’s probable that he has PTSD.
Our Experienced VA Disability Lawyers Can Help You With Your PTSD Claim
The experienced VA disability lawyers at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices veterans made to protect this country. They understand that PTSD is a debilitating mental condition that can severely and negatively impact a veteran’s life.
If you need help with your upcoming C&P exam or service-connecting your PTSD and want to file for disability benefits, contact Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Call us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.
What are the symptoms of hypervigilance?
Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing or being involved in a traumatic incident during service may experience hypervigilance as a symptom of this mental condition. Hypervigilance causes a veteran to feel on “high alert” for dangers or threats they believe are real but often are not. When they have this heightened sense of arousal, a veteran can feel anxiety, have fight or flight responses, and feel they're in jeopardy.
Symptoms of Hypervigilance
When an individual has feelings of hypervigilance, they might experience the following physical, behavioral, emotional, and mental symptoms:
- Physical. These symptoms most closely resemble anxiety and can include sweating, a rapid heart rate, and shallow, quick breathing. Over an extended period of time, a veteran who remains in this constant state of readiness can be overcome with exhaustion.
- Behavioral. These symptoms of hypervigilance include quick, automatic, knee-jerk type reactions. A person may have nervous, jittery reflexes and overreact to loud noises. Additionally, they might misperceive a comment from a friend or coworker, believing it was rude or inconsiderate. And because their immediate instinct is to defend themselves, they may respond violently or with hostility.
- Emotional. Various emotional symptoms of hypervigilance can be extreme and harsh. Veterans often feel fear, panic, and constant worry, as well as concern that they’re being judged by others. Sometimes, they withdraw emotionally, experience mood swings, or have sudden outbursts of emotion that don’t fit the situation.
- Mental. In general, the “processing protocol” is broken in the brain of someone who suffers from PTSD. Paranoia is a primary mental symptom of hypervigilance, along with excessive rationalizations of actions that aren’t logical or reasonable.
There are long-term symptoms of hypervigilance as well.
If someone is in a constant state of “alertness,” they may develop certain behaviors to quiet or oppose what they perceive are threats. If they believe they're in danger of assault, they might decide to carry a concealed weapon. If they suffer from social anxiety, they may use daydreaming to resist participating in conversations.
Call Cuddigan Law for Your PTSD Claim
The experienced veterans disability lawyers at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices veterans have made to protect this country. They understand that combat isn't easy, and veterans can suffer from physical injuries, as well as psychological traumas, including PTSD and the many symptoms that go with it, such as hypervigilance.
If you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD, we can help you obtain the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your loved ones. If you need help service-connecting your mental health condition and want to file for disability benefits, contact Cuddigan Law. Our veterans disability lawyers have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Call us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.
What do I need to corroborate my stressor event?
If you’re a veteran who experienced a traumatic event during active duty that caused your post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this “stressor” event must be corroborated if you want disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We explain how you go about this.
Corroborating an In-Service Stressor
The VA states that a stressor involves being exposed to death or threatened with death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. To get a VA disability rating for PTSD, veterans must have:
- A current diagnosis of PTSD by a medical professional
- A corroborated in-service stressor
- Medical evidence that links the PTSD to the stressor
If a veteran experienced a stressor that’s not linked with a combat incident for which he was awarded a medal, the VA will require a detailed account of the stressor event. There are various questions an individual will need to answer, but some include:
- The date the stressor event occurred, within two months
- The unit designation when the event occurred
- The names/unit designations of anyone who was killed when the event occurred
- The facility that treated the wounds suffered in the stressor event
- The names of others who witnessed the event
- The types of military equipment damaged or lost in the stressor event
Answering these questions help the VA corroborate that the event did, in fact, happen. Often, veterans are surprised and offended by the amount and type of information requested by the VA. However, because the stressor event might have occurred years and sometimes decades before the disability claim is filed, the VA needs specific data as it doesn’t have automatic access to every record maintained by the military.
Call Cuddigan Law for Your PTSD Claim
The experienced veterans disability lawyers at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices veterans made to protect this country. They understand that some individuals may experience stressors that cause PTSD. If you’re a veteran who needs to corroborate your in-service stressor, we can help. We'll also assist you in obtaining the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your loved ones.
Our veterans disability lawyers have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Call us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.
Is medical treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries different?
It should be, and here's why: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a neurological disorder. Treatment is sometimes complicated because the symptoms for PTSD and a TBI can be similar. For example, patients who suffer from PTSD or a TBI may share symptoms of irritability and fatigue. But despite the overlap in symptoms, the medical treatment for them should be different.
Treatment for a TBI
If a veteran experiences a mild TBI, he's likely to recover without any type of medical treatment. However, for more severe TBIs, some medication may be prescribed, and treatment usually involves rehabilitation to help the patient improve functioning.
Because a TBI can impact walking, talking, and thinking, a doctor may prescribe the following types of rehab:
- Physical therapy (PT). In general, PT helps patients reclaim their ability to move, talk, and function, enabling them to enjoy favorite activities and live normal lives. Treatment usually involves exercise, hot/cold therapy, manual therapy, and education for the patient. The goal is to increase a patient’s strength, coordination, and stamina.
- Language and speech therapy. When a veteran suffers a TBI, he may experience problems with communication and cognition. It may be challenging for him to articulate the point he wants to make, organize thoughts, or understand new information. It’s also possible that a veteran may find it difficult to chew or swallow. Speech therapy helps a patient to express and understand language.
- Occupational Therapy. This therapy helps patients regain skills to reach their goals and perform normal, daily activities. Whether someone has cognitive disabilities or is recovering from an injury, an occupational therapist works to treat the whole person so he can engage fully in day-to-day life.
Treatment for PTSD
When veterans return home from combat zones where they faced the mental and emotional challenges of war, including life-changing and traumatic events, they can suffer from or later develop PTSD. This recognized medical condition presents symptoms that interfere with a veteran’s ability to live a healthy, productive, and rewarding life. There are numerous treatment methods for military personnel who experience symptoms of PTSD, including:
- Cognitive Processing Therapy. Many individuals who experienced a traumatic event during war return home to feel they live in a dangerous world. Cognitive processing therapy starts by having a person write an “impact statement” and share it with other veterans to discuss what it’s like to live as if they’re still a prisoner of combat. This begins to help the veteran stop seeing the world as an unsafe place.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy. This therapy encourages an individual to gradually address the traumatic or life-altering incident and talk about the memories out loud.
- Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy. This type of therapy practices relaxation, and also has an individual recall details, re-frame his thoughts about the traumatic event, write a letter about the event, and then conduct a goodbye ceremony to leave the event in the past.
We Can Help With Your TBI or PTSD Claim
The experienced veterans disability attorneys at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices all military personnel make to protect this country. We understand that many veterans return home suffering from a medical condition, including PTSD or a TBI, or may develop symptoms later. If your medical condition is interfering with your ability to live a normal, healthy life, we can help you obtain the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your loved ones. It’s possible that you qualify for compensation from the VA.
If you need help with your disability claim, contact Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Contact us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.