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Not everyone runs life’s race without encountering obstacles. In the United States, one of those obstacles is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). About 8 million adults in this country suffer from PTSD. As the name suggests, PTSD is a stress response to trauma. For those who deal with the disorder, normal life is often a challenge, especially the challenge of finding and retaining a job. Continue reading and learn more about PTSD and what support is available through SSI Ticket to Work program.

PTSD Symptoms at Work

If you’ve already been diagnosed PTSD by a medical provider, you likely understand common symptoms and triggers. Perhaps you’ve learned coping methods to help alleviate the symptoms when you’re at home in a safe environment. While work isn’t considered unsafe, it’s different than what you experience at home. Let’s look at a few common symptoms of PTSD that people often deal with at work. When triggered at work, PTSD can make you feel:

  • Anxious
  • Edgy
  • Nervous
  • Irritable
  • Scared

Sounds like what happens when you’re at home, doesn’t it? Some people also have a hard time sleeping at night. When you have a job, poor quality sleep leaves you tired and sluggish tired at work. PTSD also often makes remembering details difficult. Some people struggle with time management and completing projects. Others have a hard time with relationships at work. You may also find yourself dealing with disturbing memories, which can make you startle easily.

Can You Work if You Have PTSD?

When you have PTSD, your body reacts to certain triggers with a fight-or-flight response. It’s a healthy reaction. It’s the body working to protect you from harm. PSTD, however, causes this stress response when you’re not in danger. Two things have the greatest impact on whether a person with PTSD can work at a job. One is the severity of the condition. The other is how a person reacts to their treatment program. This is something you should discuss with your medical provider. Work is one activity that can have a positive effect on your mental health. Work can provide much needed structure and a daily routine. A job helps create financial security and self-sufficiency. Working is also an excellent way to develop relationships with others and be part of a community.

PTSD and Help at Work

While a PTSD diagnosis can be a challenge when navigating the workplace, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful at your job. In most cases, people with PTSD have access to a range of workplace accommodations. For example, you may be allowed to wear noise-cancelling headphones designed to help you deal with noise distractions. If you have problems remembering things, your job may offer written instructions for you. Accommodations are designed to help you in your quest for success at work. When you participate in the SSI Disability Ticket to Work program, your representative will help you learn about workplace accommodations and which ones are most helpful for PTSD.

Woman at Work

Don’t Let PTSD Prevent You from Working

We understand how frightening it can be to experience PTSD symptoms at any time. When you’re at work, it can feel even more overwhelming because you’re not in the safe and familiar environment of home. But don’t worry — work and PTSD can function together. You’ll use many of the same techniques you use at home if PTSD is triggered while you’re at work. Consider finding a mentor who has personal experience overcoming PTSD symptoms at work. If you can, look for someone in your career field. A mentor is an excellent support tool who can be there for you and help you find strategies for success in the workplace. Don’t let PTSD keep you from realizing your dreams of finding a job.

The Ticket to Work program supports career development for people who receive Social Security disability benefits. The program is free and voluntary. If you have PTSD or another disability, contact DisABLEd Workers. They can help you get connected with services and support so that you can succeed in the workforce.