Trauma-related disorders require exposure to a stressful or traumatic event. The psychological impact of trauma usually begins following the event and continues for days to months. Acute stress disorder, for example, lasts up to one month, whereas PTSD lasts longer than one month but begins up to six months following the traumatic event.
If you went through a violent trauma or accident that resulted in severe injury or a near-death experience, you may develop a trauma-related disorder eligible for Social Security Disability.
What are the symptoms of a trauma-related disorder?
A trauma-related disorder includes an involuntary re-experiencing of the event. For instance, you may struggle with intrusive thoughts about the incident, nightmares and flashbacks about the event. Intrusive thoughts could drive you to avoid external reminders, such as where the incident occurred. When you do go out, you may notice a heightened reactivity. You might find yourself hyperreactive in public or paranoid about danger. Many people with PTSD or other trauma disorders have an exaggerated startle response.
How does a trauma-related disorder become disabling?
Psychological disorders can impact your ability to function in everyday life. Exposure to a traumatic incident can alter how you interact with the world. The SSA dictates that you should have extreme limitations in at least two areas of mental functioning. Areas of mental functioning include your ability to interact with others, concentrate, maintain the pace or persist, manage yourself or remember, apply and understand information.
If you have a serious and persistent mental disorder lasting at least two years, you may automatically qualify for disability.