Waking up confused and displaced can be normal after a bad dream, but it is a daily experience for veterans suffering from confusional arousal.
Confusional arousal is a type of out-of-the-ordinary activity we do in our sleep called a “parasomnia.” REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) where you physically act out your dreams, sleepwalking, and confusional arousal are all parasomnias that veterans with PTSD or TBI (traumatic brain injury) struggle with.
If you or a loved one is a veteran and regularly wakes up confused or disturbed from an otherwise normal night’s sleep, you should apply for VA disability benefits. You can get a VA disability rating for confusional arousal or delirium if we can prove, together, that it is service-connected.
In this article about veterans with Confusional Arousal Disorder:
- What is Confusional Arousal?
- PTSD and Confusional Arousal VA Disability
- The Difference Between Confusional Arousal, Delirium, and Dementia
- The VA Ratings Table for Confusional Arousal and Delirium
- How Work and Life is Affected
- What Causes Confusional Arousal in Veterans?
- Apply for VA Disability for Mental Health and Sleep Disorders
- Your C&P Exam and Sleep Study
- Confusional Arousal or Delirium as a Secondary Condition
- Traumatic Brain Injuries and Strokes Connected to Delirium
- Why Veterans Need to Watch Out for Strokes
- The VA Already Has Lawyers Working for Them, We’ll Be the Experienced Lawyers Working for You
What is Confusional Arousal?
Anybody can wake up on the wrong side of the bed now and then. When a veteran has confusional arousal, however, it’s a much greater problem. He or she can wake up and be completely disoriented. Think of movies where somebody wakes up in a hospital bed and has no idea how they got there. That’s what it’s like. It doesn’t mean they have Alzheimer’s or that they are going crazy, but it’s a condition you don’t want to ignore, either.
For many people, this wears off within seconds of looking at the room or your family in the house with you. Not for people with confusional arousal. The disorientation can last for hours. They might not understand things that people tell them or where they are. They react slowly to others or their own needs and even become angry or violent because they are so confused.
You can see how this would be dangerous to a spouse and children in the house. Parasomnias can disrupt home life in a lot of different ways. 60% of spouses of people with RBD claim that they have experienced abuse at some point. Confusional Arousal seems like it would be even worse because it crosses out of the boundaries of sleep and into the daytime.
PTSD and Confusional Arousal VA Disability
Whether this parasomnia was caused by PTSD or if PTSD caused it doesn’t matter so much as convincing the VA that they are both service-connected. You can see how mental pain and distress during the day would pack a double punch if every night’s sleep woke up to another round of confusion. The key to service connecting your PTSD VA disability is to know that what happens isn’t as important as the emotional impact it makes on you. One guy in your unit might handle an event a lot worse based on his past experiences, expectations, and overall perspective. Don’t be embarrassed to describe your traumatic event. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows up with many different kinds of symptoms after many different types of trauma.
If you or someone you know suffers from being confused every morning, give us a call, and let’s look over your case. We’ll make sure you get the maximum VA disability compensation you can. The VA rating for confusional arousal can go all of the ways up to 100%, so give us a call, and let’s see if you qualify.
In this video, one of our VA disability lawyers talks about the VA Rating Formula for Mental Disorders and Disabilities like PTSD.
The Difference Between Confusional Arousal, Delirium, and Dementia
Confusional Arousal is a lot like delirium in its symptoms and diagnosis. You can think of Confusional Arousal, Delirium, and Dementia best by understanding their differences. Confusional Arousal happens first thing in the morning and lasts for a little while into the day. It could also be thought of as ‘morning delirium’.
Delirium is similar to dementia except for the way it progresses. Where dementia happens slowly as a person goes from being absent-minded to being forgetful, delirium happens relatively instantly. People who begin to experience dementia may even realize they are showing symptoms. They can tell a gradual change and realize when they have had a mild dementia event.
People with delirium get it so fast they don’t know what hit them. Friends or relatives may say “they just started acting crazy” because of the abrupt onset of delirium conditions. It may come and go on certain holidays, when certain events happen (like fireworks or loud sounds) or in crowds of people. Delirium is the least predictable of these three disorders because it comes on so fast and isn’t linked to waking up in the morning.
The VA Ratings Table for Confusional Arousal and Delirium
The VA rates these mental conditions on the same scale. They have 5 different tiers on the ratings table at 100%, 70%, 50%, 30%, and 10% ratings.
|Symptoms of Mental State||VA Rating|
|If you can’t work very well during times of extreme stress, but otherwise you can function socially and vocationally. Or your conditions can be maintained with medicine.||10%|
|If you have a normal lifestyle but periodic bouts that make you unable to work or take care of yourself. This is periodic anxiety, panic attacks, severe sleep problems, memory loss (like familiar peoples’ names) and forgetting how to do things at work.||30%|
|If you have so much impairment at work or interpersonally that you are not reliable or productive at work, you fall into this category. If you have panic attacks or memory impairments more than once a week or act cold and emotionless (flattened affect is the medical term) then you get this rating.||50%|
|Impaired and deficient in most areas of work, family, and everyday life. If you regularly think about suicide or have obsessive rituals that interfere with daily life, or if your delirium makes you violent or confused on a daily basis.||70%|
|At this point, a veteran is totally impaired from conducting a normal work or social life. He or she can’t remember their own name, their location, or purpose, and often seems alarmed and may be hallucinating.||100%|
When a person wakes up in the morning and experiences symptoms on this scale for a significant part of the day, they should look into getting VA disability benefits. It’s easy to see how some of these higher ratings would affect a person’s personal life and ability to live a normal life after being a soldier.
How Work and Life is Affected
All of these conditions are hard to live with. If you have them often enough, you may get fired from your job or divorced from your spouse. Even if your situation seems hopeless, it is not. The VA has an Individual Unemployment provision to help you with your income while you learn how to live with your condition. TDIU is awarded to veterans that meet certain criteria and can’t work but also aren’t bad off enough to earn a 100% VA Rating.
Veterans who can’t hold down a steady job that supports them financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of their service-connected disabilities are eligible for TDIU if they have:
- At least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more
In this video, one of our VA compensation lawyers explains the difference between a 100% VA Rating and TDIU.
What Causes Confusional Arousal in Veterans?
Like other mental health conditions, PTSD can cause confusional arousal. It can also be caused by a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). While technically not a mental health issue, it is treated as such for the sake of the VA rating table. Delirium is often caused by an infection or even a side-effect from medicine. Confusional arousal happens to almost everyone as they come out of a coma, but subsides after a short time. If it lasts for weeks or months, it is more severe than a side-effect from the coma.
While delirium is more common among the aging population, it should not be common among young veterans. That is one signal that it is not naturally occurring forgetfulness. If you are an elderly veteran in a nursing home, it may be more difficult to get VA disability for delirium because it is coming on as a natural effect of growing old. You must prove that you had onset at a younger age or that you had service-connected disabilities that caused it if you want a strong case.
Apply for VA Disability for Mental Health and Sleep Disorders
When you apply for VA disability, you’ll setup your eBenefits account and fill out a lot of forms. In the case of delirium or confusional arousal VA disability applications, you might have a friend or loved one work with our team to get everything filled out. We are happy to work with whoever you designate as your representative.
We will interview you and ask you questions about your time in the service. We’ll look into which division you were in, where you were stationed throughout your time enlisted, and the conditions of your discharge. We have helped thousands of veterans, so we are experienced in walking you through the wild process of VA disability applications and even appeals.
We’ll help you establish a clear diagnosis of your conditions from a doctor. Your nexus letter is critical to showing the VA that your current condition is service-connected to the events you experienced as a soldier. We’ll help you put together your buddy statements from other vets in your division, lay statements from any of your family members, old friends, or even ex-employers. From there we’ll be able to decide if we’ll try to get you the full TDIU or not.
Your C&P Exam and Sleep Study
Once the VA receives your application, they may call for a sleep study. This happens in a number of different ways across the country, but we can answer your questions about it before you go in. This will help the VA see your level of disability when you wake up first hand. They will also check you for sleep apnea, nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep-related conditions.
If they discover that you have sleep apnea or nightmares when you go in for your sleep study, that will only benefit you. Sleep apnea can be added on as an additional disability, and nightmares may help increase your PTSD rating. Be honest and forthcoming with all of your VA doctors so they can give you the strongest and most accurate diagnosis.
Confusional Arousal or Delirium as a Secondary Condition
Depending on what you’ve done in the service or what was done to you, getting a VA rating for delirium might be the wrong first step. That’s why we ask you so many questions about your time in the service when you call our office.
Chronic Urinary Tract Infections can cause delirium in women. It sounds strange and unrelated, but there is more and more evidence that such types of infections can cause dementia as a side-effect. As infections are treated with antibiotics, the side effects tend to go away within a month. Keep a journal of your health conditions so that you can show the C&P doctor how frequently you have these symptoms.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Strokes Connected to Delirium
An explosion or a fall can cause a veteran to have a TBI (traumatic brain injury). This can happen as easily as rolling out of a bunk or as an IED strike. Brain damage from such an impact can show up right away with symptoms but may also have some symptoms that won’t show up for years. Delirium or confusion that shows up and affects your life within your first year out can be rated as presumptive. Conditions that show up years from now will require a lawyer to build your case and prove the service connection.
If you have a stroke, you may also experience these symptoms. One of the first symptoms of a stroke is having symptoms of delirium. If it’s in the middle of the day, you probably won’t confuse a stroke for confusional arousal, but it might look a lot like delirium. If you suspect you or a friend is having a stroke, don’t waste any time. Call 911 and get medical help immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to strokes.
Why Veterans Need to Watch Out for Strokes
Veterans are more likely to experience strokes because they are more likely to have some of the leading contributors to strokes: Stress, PTSD, and high blood pressure. If you aren’t connected with a VFW, American Legion, or some other VSO (Veteran’s Service Organization) now is a good time to at least get in contact with them. Friends, family, and even neighbors can help keep an eye on you to support you if you have a bad episode of delirium.
If someone says that you’re acting differently or is concerned about your well-being, listen to them! Do what you can to get the help you need. The VA isn’t always perfect, but they ultimately desire to serve those who have served.
The VA Already Has Lawyers Working for Them,
We’ll Be the Experienced Lawyers Working for You
At Woods and Woods, the Veteran’s Firm, we’ve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. We’ve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to serve disabled veterans better in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
Talk to Us About Your Claim:
Frequently Asked Questions
Unless you have a Power of Attorney document or your dad is ruled incompetent, it can be difficult. Give us a call and we can discuss your next steps. You’ll need a diagnosis from a doctor for his conditions and some evidence that it was caused by his service. If he was in Vietnam, he might be able to get a presumptive rating, which will make things easier, but not faster.
Work with our team and we’ll make sure you have a good case for all of the VA disability you deserve. Our team asks a lot of questions so that our VA disability lawyers can paint a holistic picture of your life with your disability. We’ve helped thousands of veterans get VA disability and we know what the VA will believe and what they won’t. We don’t want you to waste your time, so we’ll work to get it all right the first time.