• Accommodating PTSD in the Workplace


    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. stress-at-work

    About 2.4 million members of the military have been deployed in the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, and tens of thousands are returning home.

    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.

    PTSD is a condition that can rise to the level of a disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    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:

    • Accessibility of a Marketplace Chaplain

    • Staff and employee orientation to PTSD with a consulting organization such as PTSDPerspectives

    • Appropriate accommodations, including flexible work schedules, rest breaks, white noise machines, checklists, and work-at-home options

    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.

    Greater understanding of the causes, symptoms, and impact of post-traumatic stress disorder can only help us understand one another better–both in and outside the work environment.


    ** If you haven’t downloaded your COMPLIMENTARY copy of our e-book, The Truth About Trauma, here is a link to the download page. Great information and a valuable resource. Download  your COMPLIMENTARY copy today!

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