Vietnam War Veterans experienced many stressful, intense situations and events. Because of their military service and experiences, many Vietnam War vets returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Thousands of Veterans still experience the long-term side effects and consequences of this psychological condition. Read on for more information about the prevalence of PTSD in Vietnam War Veterans and related disability benefits.
PTSD is a psychological condition characterized by lasting and/or chronic negative mental and emotional experiences caused by one or more “stressors.”
A traumatic event normally triggers PTSD. For example, a Vietnam War Veteran may have witnessed one of their fellow servicemembers die in combat, or they may have experienced a serious injury themselves.
PTSD changes the brain and can lead to serious symptoms, such as:
PTSD can be difficult to discuss, especially for members of the Vietnam generation, which can impede the process of diagnosing. However, it’s important to get a PTSD diagnosis quickly so you can receive adequate medical attention and obtain disability benefits to which you may be entitled.
In the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War, PTSD was not widely recognized as a psychological condition. Most Vietnam War Veterans could not get the emotional and psychological support they needed to recover.
Starting in 1983, Congress ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the prevalence of PTSD and related psychological problems among Vietnam-era Veterans. The study concluded in December 2013 and found that, while most Vietnam-era Veterans were mentally and psychologically healthy, many still suffered from PTSD symptoms decades later.
The study showed that Vietnam War Veterans were severely adversely affected by PTSD and similar psychological conditions.
There has been a lot of speculation as to why Vietnam-era Veterans seemed to have a higher prevalence of PTSD than other military Veterans, including Veterans and other conflicts. Over the years, studies and psychiatrist opinions have coalesced to offer a few explanations:
These aspects combined may have caused PTSD to develop at a greater rate among Vietnam War Veterans.
The VA itself has concluded that Vietnam War Veterans still experience the symptoms of PTSD in staggering amounts. Thousands of Veterans may experience the chronic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and may or may not receive disability benefits for this condition.
If you or a loved one served in Vietnam and developed PTSD at any point afterward because of events you experienced or witnessed during that time, you could be eligible for compensation. The VA may award you with disability benefits if your PTSD has severe symptoms that impact your ability to work, social life, or carry out day-to-day tasks.
If you served in the Vietnam War and developed PTSD, you should qualify for disability compensation from the VA. This is true regardless of whether you initially applied for compensation years ago or never applied for benefits.
There’s no expiration date for applying for VA disability compensation. You must prove that you served in the Vietnam War and experienced one or more traumatic stressor events. That’s easier said than done, but knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys can help you.
To establish a claim based on PTSD in the Vietnam War, you must fulfill three key requirements:
It’s wise to gather as much substantiating evidence as possible before filing your claim. Good evidence includes your service records like combat awards received or unit assignments and buddy statements or lay statements. Lay statements can come from yourself, your friends and family members, or your fellow servicemembers, so long as those statements substantiate or corroborate your claims.
You’ll also need medical documentation from your psychiatrist or other healthcare providers. These can include prescriptions for medication, notes from psychiatry points, and so on. This evidence will help show that you have PTSD caused or aggravated by your time in the military. However, if you can’t provide evidence from your mental health provider or if you do not have one, you can still file your claim. The VA will need to provide an examination to determine your diagnosis.
Of course, gathering this evidence can be difficult if you have not yet acquired disability benefits for your PTSD and served in the military decades ago. Records can be lost, you may not remember exactly what occurred, and statements between yourself and fellow service members may not align perfectly.
Veterans law attorneys can help with these challenges in a variety of ways:
If your claim is denied, lawyers like Berry Law can walk you through the appeals process to get your claim approved or your disability rating increased if your symptoms are serious.
PTSD symptoms are very common in Vietnam Veterans. Still, those Veterans can and should take advantage of VA disability benefits to help them pay for medical care and other financial challenges. Even if you’ve never received benefits, you can still reopen the claim for disability compensation with the assistance of Berry Law.
Berry Law’s experienced attorneys are well-equipped and ready to help you file an initial claim, as well as understand the benefits claim process from start to finish. We can also help you appeal a previously denied claim for benefits if you tried to get compensation years before. Contact us today.
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