It is well-known that working with the VA can sometimes be a nightmare, but fortunately, that is the exception rather than the rule. If you are suffering from real nightmares, however, talk to a VA disability lawyer about getting VA disability benefits for PTSD.
This article will help you understand why you can get a higher VA disability rating for sleep disturbances. By the end, you should have the tools you need to file for VA disability and discuss PTSD nightmares in a way that helps you win.
In this Article About Nightmares, PTSD, and VA Disability:
- What are PTSD Nightmares?
- How Is PTSD Diagnosed?
- How Can I Get a PTSD VA Rating from Nightmares?
- Other Ways to Improve your VA Rating
- If I Have Parasomnia Can I Obtain a VA Rating?
- How Does Depression Factor In?
- Where Should I Go Next?
What are PTSD Nightmares?
After a person has gone through a trauma, it may affect them stronger than they realize. Around five percent of people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder go on to have regular bouts of nightmares. If you can link the nightmares in any way to the events that caused PTSD or they present on a more regular basis after trauma, they are considered PTSD nightmares.
Among veterans, this is even more common. In some studies, up to fifty percent of veterans who suffered from PTSD after Vietnam had recurring nightmares.
This number is in comparison to civilians in the general population. Such people only have a three percent chance of suffering the same level of nightmares. Fifty percent is thus a very high number.
This number climbs even further if exacerbated by other medical conditions like anxiety or panic attacks. If you suffer from these, you may find yourself in a situation where you are having trouble living a normal life, afraid of sleep.
Such setbacks can cause interruptions to your daily schedule. This will affect your recovery in a significant way and prevent your rehabilitation back into normal life.
How Is PTSD Diagnosed?
As PTSD is an important disability to get diagnosed with, you should have as much information as possible. This will help you secure the diagnosis you need for support from the VA.
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When discussing the matter with your physician, or when thinking about whether or not you have PTSD, think about the following factors. These are some of the primary ways doctors will consider whether your issue is PTSD or a different stress-related issue:
Changes to Your Mood or Your Mindset
If you have started becoming pessimistic about yourself or the world around you, this may be a sign of a larger change. Starting to have more negative beliefs about the world around you or your own life can be one of many signs of PTSD forming.
Along with constant feelings of fear or guilt, it may start to get harder for you to feel joy in the world. This can also be a sign of anxiety, depression, or other problems. You should discuss these with a therapist if possible.
Constantly Being Jumpy
If you are on edge all the time, it could be a sign of ongoing fear. This also displays in the form of anger, reckless behavior, or irritability. Any trouble concentrating or sleeping due to fearful thoughts may also show that you are moving towards a PTSD diagnosis.
When in new situations, if you are over-vigilant and alert of what is going on around you, this may be a sign you have ongoing effects of trauma. This can include looking for exits wherever you go or staying alert for threatening individuals. With some people, it may even mean sizing up others in the room again and again for whether you think they are carrying weapons.
Regular Reminders of the Event
If you have intrusive thoughts related to the event causing your nightmares, such as flashbacks or other distress, this may be a sign of PTSD. These could include reactions to triggering events such as panic attacks, racing heartbeats, or being unable to stop shaking.
This could be at any time of day or triggered by anything. A specific phrase, car noises, or even only a busy street could be the cause of these flashbacks.
If you are a veteran with OCD and PTSD, you may be eligible for VA disability.
Avoiding Things That Remind You of the Event
If there are specific situations that remind you of a traumatic event in your life, you may end up attempting to avoid these. If this affects your life in any significant way, it could be a sign that the trauma is bad enough that you have PTSD.
Good examples of avoidance having a significant effect would be refusing to attend events with your friends. Or it could not be engaging in activities you used to enjoy. You should discuss these possibilities with a doctor so they can begin the diagnostic process.
How Can I Get a PTSD VA Rating from Nightmares?
If you are having nightmares related to PTSD, there is a strong chance it could affect your PTSD VA rating. Nightmares have already been cited and discussed in existing claims. So, there is precedence for you to discuss them in your case.
When diagnosing mental health conditions for the VA, there are many rules. For example, VA regulations allow for several different levels of ratings for psychiatric issues.
A rating of 50% on the VA disability calculator states that you have an impairment in being able to function. This could be a social difficulty or a difficulty in your ability to work to a reliable and productive level. PTSD that troubles you can increase your VA rating due to mood issues, trouble with social events, or having one more panic attack each week.
The VA does not have rigid rules when it comes to rating individuals with mental health conditions. Instead, they work on a case-by-case basis to look at your symptoms and how they affect your daily functions. The VA rating for PTSD and Depression is notorious for being low, however.
VA Ratings Tables for 2021
Here are the updated VA ratings for 2021, including increases for dependents and spouses.
Other Ways to Improve your VA Rating
Because it can be hard to get an automatic 50% PTSD rating in 2020 for mental health reasons, you may want to look into legal representation for yourself. Many lawyers will have a good handle on these kinds of cases, able to offer help in the finer points of the process. Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, has helped thousands of veterans win their VA disability. You don’t have to be afraid to talk to our team. Our work since 1985 means we’ve almost heard it all!
A 60% VA rating can be very useful to get both your military retirement pay and your VA disability pay. For this reason, you want to make sure the VA fairly rates you and as high as possible.
When they assess you, you should be honest with the person rating you. Be sure to inform them of all the times your life has been harmed by any mental health issues.
Being unable to work, socialize, or even sleep will impact the rating you get. A clearer picture of how the problems have affected you can increase things like your PTSD and insomnia VA rating scores. It can even do so to the point of passing that 50% criterion.
If a veteran feels affected by insomnia or other issues, they should discuss this with a doctor. They will be able to give you documentation on how PTSD is causing such issues.
The insomnia VA rating scale goes from zero to one hundred percent disability. For this reason, the more proof you have of its debilitating effects will sway the assessor to your side.
If I Have Parasomnia Can I Obtain a VA Rating?
Some veterans may be able to get a parasomnia VA rating indirectly. As parasomnia is not a single issue, however, it may depend on exactly how it affects you.
What is Parasomnia
Parasomnia is a wide range of possible sleep conditions that could affect your sleep schedule. Any one of them could cause significant problems for you in your attempts to live a normal life. For this reason, they may be relevant to your search for VA disability.
Examples of parasomnia conditions include:
- Sleep terrors or night terrors
- Sleep-related eating disorder
- Sleep-related abnormal sexual behavior
You should investigate whether you are currently suffering from any extra conditions from the above list. You could also look at a larger list of parasomnia issues from others in the know.
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How does Parasomnia Affect your VA Rating?
Therapists discuss Parasomnia in the same way as many other issues related to PTSD. The standard by which a therapist would judge them is how much they cause you a disability or otherwise affect your life. Any way in which they are debilitating could affect your VA rating.
You should bring up whether parasomnia could affect your VA rating when discussing it with your physician. Your doctor will be able to give you advice on how to move forward in a way that will be useful to your life and your mental health. Even if your family doctor gives you a nexus letter to show the connection between your connection and your experiences, let our legal team look it over to make sure everything lines up with your C-File. Veterans have had their claims delayed for years when they said something wrong on their nexus letter. We don’t want that to happen to you.
Nightmares are only one of several factors where PTSD-related parasomnia could affect your life. Other parasomnias caused by PTSD could be bed-wetting, confusional arousal, or tooth-grinding. All of these could affect a larger discussion, especially when exacerbating one another.
How Does Depression Factor In?
Nightmares are complex issues that can have many run-on effects. If nightmares either trigger stress-related issues or induce panic, they could also have other effects on your life.
Nightmares Can Lead to Depression
Nightmares can lead to depressed mental health conditions. The feeling of helplessness that nightmares bring, as well as memories of trauma, can lead to negative mental health.
Nightmares may remind you of negative or traumatic times in your life, not to mention the hormonal effects they may bring. They may cause you to lose sleep, or lash out at others around you.
They may either be a sign or cause, of you being in a depressive state. For this reason, you and others should not ignore them. A VA assessor should take them seriously in discussions about your ability to live a normal life.
Depression Can Lead To Poor Relationships
Any depression, even that which comes from PTSD and nightmares, can affect others around you. An inability for you to feel enjoyment in the world around you may cause you to feel unmotivated to keep up relationships. It may even affect your relationship with your spouse or other close family members.
You would not be the first individual to feel withdrawn to the extent that you pull back from a wife, husband, or even grandchildren.
If this is the case, make sure to discuss it with the person with whom you discuss your PTSD. This may be your personal physician or a therapist with whom you are seeking counseling.
If you have pulled back from your family or others, they should be able to help you reach a mental state where you can seek company again. Your support network is one of several tools you have to mitigate further problems.
Depression Can Make You Unemployable
There are a lot of disabilities that can be covered up. Scars can go under a shirt, and medicine can treat diabetes, but the loss of sleep from PTSD can make the workday difficult. If you’ve fallen asleep on the job or just had a bad write-up at work for being sleepy, you know how PTSD can make you unemployed fast. We are always looking to see if our veterans are eligible for TDIU benefits due to their PTSD. If you have too many days where you can’t get out of bed and your depression is incapacitating, don’t settle for less than full TDIU from the VA.
How Can This Help Me?
A VA rating for PTSD and depression should take into account your current mental state. Speaking to a therapist will allow them to advise you on what to discuss with your VA assessor. This will give your assessor the clearest picture of your current mental state and how your PTSD is affecting you.
You can gather documentation from your therapist about your condition. This evidence may weigh heavily on their decision. Significant amounts of proof of a debilitating condition, even a mental health one, can push your VA rating over fifty percent.
When you call us for a free call, we take your confidential conditions very seriously. Our team of experienced case managers, doctors, psychiatrists, and lawyers will work hard on your case to make sure all conditions are covered and well represented to the VA. We won’t charge you anything until we win your case. The VA allows VA disability lawyers to take up to 30% of your back pay, but we only take 20%, one-time, after you win.
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Where Should I Go Next?
Sometimes you might have trouble with VA disability and need someone who can help you with advice and go over the next steps. In that case, do not hesitate to give us a call.
Our team is available to talk you through your options related to the VA disability calculator. We can help you either appeal or apply for VA disability in a way that suits your circumstances.
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 better serve disabled veterans 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.
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It does sound like a hard thing to prove. Unfortunately,, there are a lot of obvious side-effects from losing sleep because of PTSD. Sleepiness at work, depression, problems with relationships, and exhaustion are all signs that you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep. If you can prove that those are affecting you and are service-connected PTSD, you have a strong case.
Not separately, but that’s ok. Having three conditions that all point to an extreme case of PTSD will get you a higher rating than three separate ratings added together with the voodoo known as VA Math. Talk to our team about all of your symptoms of PTSD. We’ll try to get you full TDIU, or at least the highest rating you deserve.