PTSD Among Aviators

Often, when someone pictures post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among our Veterans they think of individuals who served on the ground, especially those who served the infantry, tanks, and artillery. Most people don’t think about PTSD among aviators, whether they are pilots, air crew, door gunners, first aid personnel, medics, or corpsman. However, aviators can still develop PTSD due to their line of work.

How Does the VA Define PTSD?

When people think of PTSD, they often think it is caused by a traumatic combat experience, which isn’t always true. A person can develop PTSD if they are exposed to any sort of trauma. Currently, the VA uses the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to diagnose PTSD. The DSM-V criteria for PTSD includes witnessing trauma, direct exposure to trauma, or indirect exposure to trauma while in the line of duty. Therefore, a Veteran does not need to be directly exposed to the trauma to develop PTSD. With this in mind, it is easy to see how an aviator could be exposed to a traumatic experience that could lead to PTSD.

Possible Accidents that Could Lead to PTSD in Aviators

Veterans who served in aviation could have been exposed to a wide array of traumatic experiences in service that may cause PTSD. As long as the Veteran can prove that the PTSD was caused by military service, they are entitled to disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Aviators who were in a near missile strike may develop PTSD due to the incident. Coming so close to a near death experience is sufficient trauma to cause mental health problems in the future.

Another common occurrence for aviators that could lead to PTSD is being fired upon by ground fire. Much like a near missile strike, this direct combat experience could cause a person to develop PTSD.

Transporting wounded or deceased servicemembers in a helicopter is also traumatic enough to cause PTSD.

Why Aviators Fail to Report PTSD Symptoms

Many aviators who were exposed to a traumatic event in service will display symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, most aviators fail to report their symptoms. Why? These Veterans fear the repercussions of a PTSD diagnosis. If diagnosed, many of these Veterans would be grounded and unable to fly. So, these Veterans usually internalize the problems they are experiencing due to PTSD so they can continue to work and not let their fellow servicemembers down.

This doesn’t mean they cannot receive service connection for their mental health diagnosis, but it will be more difficult to prove without evidence in your service treatment records. In these cases, we often recommend using buddy statements to help prove the symptoms you displayed in service.

Veterans Serving Veterans

The attorneys and Veterans advocates at Berry Law understand what it takes to get a PTSD claim approved, and they are committed to helping fellow Veterans get the disability benefits they are entitled to. Berry Law features attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

If you need help appealing your VA claim, contact a team of Veterans. Call Berry Law today at 888-883-2483 to schedule a free case evaluation and take the next step in getting the VA disability compensation you deserve.