Creating an Understanding Working Environment to Individuals with PTSD
For those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), working can prove to be an everyday challenge. Many patients with the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder are forced to file for disability, rendering them unable to work at all. For those who still have to make a living finding the right work environment can prove to be a challenge. Because it can be so difficult for those who have never experienced the effects of PTSD, explaining your situation can be rather frustrating, furthermore adding to the complexity of post traumatic stress disorder.
There are many scenarios and events that can lead to the development of post traumatic stress disorder, so it is important to determine what the cause of post traumatic stress disorder is and avoid workplace situations that could be related to the initial traumatic incident. It is common in war veterans, who were at one point in charge of their job and other soldiers, to take a job where they have an immediate supervisor. The working veteran may see the person acting as their superior to be a cause for stress. After everything that a war veteran may have experienced, taking orders from a civilian can be a real challenge.
How Does an Individual with PTSD Effectively and Successfully Join the Workforce?
According to the guidelines set by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), PTSD is highly likely to limit the abilities of someone who suffers with the psychological condition. Individuals with post traumatic stress disorder are not required to disclose their condition to potential employers, but employers can request a medical examination if they have reason to suspect that the employee is incapable of doing their job. A medical examination can also be requested if there is an incident involving an employee with post traumatic stress disorder.
Some of the symptoms of PTSD include avoidance, numbness to the outside world, and hypersensitivity. Subsequently, these factors can cause someone with post traumatic stress disorder to be unable to complete certain work- related tasks. In the event that someone with the condition fails to meet work expectations, the employer does have grounds for disciplinary action. Employers are required, however, to consider all of the factors leading up to the issues presented by the employee. Special accommodations should then be made in order to help facilitate the working environment of an employee with post traumatic stress disorder.
Paperwork and proof play a large part in the implementation of special accommodations for employees with post traumatic stress disorder. If an employee chooses to request accommodations due to their condition, they must provide all documentation related to their diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.
What Accommodations can be Made to Improve the Working Environment of an Employee with PTSD?
Due to potential memory and concentration issues that my interfere with their work performance, taking extra effort to create a list of tasks to be completed or expectations can be a helpful guide for those with post traumatic stress disorder. To decrease or eliminate the stress that can come from a variety of sources, having a list of daily tasks that can be checked off could give some peace of mind and a positive sense of accomplishment that the job is getting done; showing the employee that he is staying on track and moving forward. Limiting stressful situations that could be perceived as a threat is a very important part of accommodating an employee with post traumatic stress disorder. If the working establishment is large enough to have multiple departments, placing the employee in the least stressful position is the best course of action. Certain stressors can trigger flashbacks and cause problems for an employee with PTSD.
The alternate option is for someone with post traumatic stress disorder to avoid being an employee for a business or organization and start a business of their own. This is not as simple as just going out and starting a business, but if it is a plausible option this would give the person much more control over their daily life and could eliminate a lot of the stressors related to having a regular job.
Working with PTSD
Returning to a normal working environment, after being diagnosed with PTSD or after suffering from a traumatic event, can be a challenging experience that many individuals take for granted everyday. If you have PTSD, try to keep an open and honest dialogue with your employer. While it may be difficult to articulate what you are feeling, it will help you and your co-workers. If you are an employer who has hired an individual with PTSD, try not to stereotype or generalize his condition. It is important to educate yourslef with the condition, but don’t make any assumptions about your employee. Encourage him to have a discussion with you and don’t be afraid to offer positive reinforcement in the workplace.