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When post-traumatic stress disorder keeps a worker down

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Recent reports related to the Sandy Hook elementary shootings have widened the conversation about the tragedy. The violence took the lives of children and staff, but it also has altered the lives of many in the community.

The New York Times addresses the mental health of the public officials who responded to the nightmarish scene. At least one of the police officers involved in the situation reportedly is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It wouldn't be surprising for several more officers to struggle with PTSD in response to what they saw on Dec. 14.

Says one officer about the scene, "One look, and your life was absolutely changed." The shooter killed 20 kids and six adults that day, before he killed himself. The impact of the shooter's actions didn't end when his life did. There were the responders who were left to clean up the tragedy and the entire community left to try to move on now that everything had changed.

It is most common to hear about PTSD as it relates to military veterans. Whether a person suffers from the disorder as a result of serving in a war or responding to an unthinkably horrific crime scene, the life-altering reality of PTSD is the same. The mental health disorder can make someone unable and unfit to work. One of the officers from Sandy Hook, for example, is unable to sleep without medication. He's been diagnosed with PTSD.

PTSD can be the result of any trauma, often unrelated to work. The mental health diagnosis can be covered by disability insurance, but there are limits to coverage. Sometimes a sufferer's insurance company will only pay insurance benefits for PTSD for up to two years.

Our disability attorneys have experience in insurance matters specifically related to mental or nervous disorders such as PTSD.

Source: The New York Times, "Reliving Horror and Faint Hope at Massacre Site," Ray Rivera, Jan. 28, 2013

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