As medical technology advances along with our understanding of the human mind and psychological conditions, so our attitude towards injuries both physical and mental sustained in the military must evolve also.
We’ve come a long way in the last century as regards recognising less tangible mental conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but there remain significant obstacles to effectively treating the condition, making it all the more important that those eligible for PTSD compensation get the support they deserve.
The symptoms of PTSD are varied and can encompass a wide range of afflictions, some of which may be entirely unique to an individual victim’s circumstances. Common symptoms include serious, prolonged headaches as well as memory loss or difficulties in maintaining concentration. Victims have also been known to suffer from sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, and a range of cognitive difficulties – all of which can also occur as a result of other military injuries (most notably head injuries), making the condition very difficult to recognise in some instances. The potential for misdiagnosis of PTSD is therefore very significant, and even if the circumstances under which the victim developed PTSD do not warrant PTSD compensation, the nature of subsequent medical treatment, or the lack thereof, may well do so, in the form of a clinical negligence compensation claim.
In fact, there remain significant difficulties in separating the effects of head injuries from those of PTSD. Recent medical research now attributes the severity of cognitive difficulties experienced by many head injury patients not to the nature of the head injury itself, but to the onset of PTSD thereafter. This runs contrary to the perceived wisdom of the past and could potentially have fear reaching consequences for a number of victims who have received improper treatment – potentially making them eligible for post-traumatic stress compensation. Effective medical testing on the damaging effects of PTSD remain hard to come by, as patients often experience a significant lack of motivation, making it difficult for examiners to effectively gauge their true mental capacity and voiding around 40% of medical evaluations on average.
The course(s) of treatment for those suffering cognitive difficulties as a result of PTSD continue to evolve almost as quickly as our means of identifying it. Recent innovations include an increase in patient-interactive exercises known as “paper-and-pencil” treatments, which can take place in the operating theatre / hospital or at a patient’s home. Research also continues into computerized treatments, but amidst concerns as to their reliability and overall viability these methods remain somewhat of a pipedream. Regardless of the course any treatment program takes, these relatively new fields can prove as expensive as they are innovative, making it all the more important that families eligible for PTSD compensation get the financial support they so desperately need.
Jason Brady, specialist PTSD and military injury compensation solicitor at Blackwater Law personal injury solicitors in Suffolk, acts for a number of serving and ex-military personnel in relation to PTSD compensation claims. He said of the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on these soldiers:
“This condition can have a truly devastating impact on the lives of military personnel and their families. Often these individuals will report drinking heavily, and becoming increasingly aggressive or violent. In many cases these changes in behaviour represent a complete shift from their normal personality.
“It is unfortunately still the case that many soldiers suffering from PTSD are not diagnosed , and where they are, do not always receive the treatment they need. .”
Making a claim for PTSD compensation
Considering the frightening, confusing and truly disruptive effects PTSD can have on victims’ personal and family lives, it’s no surprise that many of them seek legal support and advice when times get tough. If you or a family member are suffering the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of military service, you could be entitled to claim PTSD compensation. To find out if you have a case, contact Blackwater Law on 0800 083 5500 for free initial legal advice.