The Effects of PTSD in the Workplace – How to get help
When we think of the workplace, we often look to the company’s stock performance to determine how well it is doing. However, during the Covid pandemic, other areas were impacted that are just as important but not always visible to everyone. This area involves the mental state of employees affected by PTSD.
Have you or someone you know experienced PTSD in the workplace? If so, this article will review the effects of PTSD in the workplace and provide ways to get help.
My goal in this article is to bring awareness to a topic that is not discussed as much but is essential because it can impact us mentally or physically. I am not medically trained or a therapist, so the ideas presented are to provide suggestions on helping individuals live more productive and meaningful lives.
First, we will review the basic information as outlined below:
- What is PTSD?
- What is different about workplace PTSD?
- Causes and symptoms of workplace PTSD
- The effects of PTSD
- How to get help
Now, let’s get started with the discussion.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What is PTSD?
The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a mental condition triggered by an event that terrifies an individual. This can result from being part of the event or witnessing it happening. Usually, when we think of PTSD, a picture of someone in the military being exposed to combat comes to mind.
This can also impact many individuals, such as rape victims, police officers, or firefighters, who are exposed to life-threatening situations. PTSD happens in many areas of our lives.
What is different about workplace PTSD?
In the workplace, PTSD also occurs. According to the American Psychiatric Association (ASA) Foundation, Center for Workplace Mental Health, employers are beginning to notice the effects of PTSD because it impacts work production, performance, and absenteeism.
The ASA describes PTSD as a mental health condition that can impact a person’s work performance and emotional wellness in other areas of their lives.
In her book, The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life, author Joyce Marter provides insight into how PTSD has impacted frontline workers during the COVID pandemic; these workers included healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers, to name a few.
Examples of essential workers include frontline workers in grocery stores, medical facilities such as doctor offices or hospitals, government employees, school teachers, and construction workers.
When a person experiences any form of PTSD, it can impact their decision-making and life.
Based on statistics dated August 29, 2022, by the National Center for PTSD, 6 out of 100 people in the US will experience some form of PTSD in their lifetime.
What is different about PTSD in the workplace is that individuals may exhibit the symptoms of PTSD and not be aware of it or may not know how to get help to manage it.
Causes and symptoms of workplace PTSD
While causes of workplace PTSD can vary, some examples include working in a toxic work environment where workers are pitted against each other, resulting in feelings of mistrust.
If there is bullying in the workplace by a superior, for example, using intimidation or lack of inclusion to ignore employees can lead to PTSD. Also, threatening an individual and setting unrealistic or unclear expectations can result in PTSD.
Still yet, being overloaded with too many responsibilities can also lead to PTSD. These, of course, are just a few examples.
When it comes to workplace PTSD, a few common symptoms include:
- Fear, anxiety, or depression
- Feeling detached or withdrawn
- Blaming oneself
- Hard time concentrating
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Being irritable or having a negative mood
The causes and symptoms of PTSD in the workplace are essential to recognize and not ignore them.
The effects of PTSD
As mentioned earlier, PTSD in the military can be recognized by the effects of combat or terrifying experiences. In the workplace, PTSD may not be the same as combat, but the effects on your mind can seem similar.
You may feel overwhelmed and be unable to snap out of a deep depression. Your life may feel spiraling out of control because of your ability to focus on work or personal activities.
People may even think they perform poorly at work and lose confidence in their abilities. Psychologically speaking, you may experience a feeling that you are all alone and can not get past this feeling of despair.
How to get help
Getting help with workplace PTSD is critically important. The good news is that you have many resources available to start with.
The first step is to talk to your primary doctor and let them know your feelings. A primary doctor may be able to refer you to a licensed professional therapist trained in this area.
You can also check with your Human Resource department to see if they have available resources to help.
Another option is to use resources, such as books, that can provide you with solutions you can apply to your life to help make changes. For example, in her book Abundance Beyond Trauma: Discovering Your Courage for Change and Commitment to Yourself, author Jeanine L. Rashide, AP, uses her own life experiences to help others recover from traumatic experiences, including PTSD.
The important thing is not to isolate yourself and do nothing. Instead, reach out to your family, friends, employer, and doctor to begin recovery.
As we conclude this article, the important takeaway is that workplace PTSD can happen to anyone, and its impact on employees can lead to a worsened condition if not treated or addressed. We reviewed what PTSD is, what makes it different in the workplace, the causes and symptoms of PTSD, and how to get help.
The call to action is to get help. As part of being the best you, it is essential that you address the wholeness of your body and mind. If you or someone you know has the symptoms of work-related PTSD described in this article, please seek help from a medical professional to begin recovery.
Please feel free to comment or share tips for recovering from workplace PTSD. As always, thank you for taking the time to review this article.