Ron returned to his position as an executive in a technology company after coming home from military service in Afghanistan last year. But he was reluctant to tell his employer about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a startle response, insomnia, flashbacks, memory issues, anger, and other symptoms that affected his ability to work.
As isolated as Ron felt, he is not alone.
The influx is expected to continue until 2016.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates as many as 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans are afflicted by PTSD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD affects about 7.7 million adults, and not simply war veterans. According to the Sidran Institute, approximately 8% of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
As such, it can sometimes be difficult for employers to balance employees’ rights of privacy with their need for accommodations. However, the following suggestions are often helpful:
Veterans often fear that will be seen as broken or damaged if others know they have PTSD. They also do not want people to assume that they have PTSD because they served in combat. The other factor regarding PTSD in the workplace is that many people dealing with the disorder have not had military experience and often feel invisible and voiceless.
One fact is clear.
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