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How difficult is it to handle PTSD at work?

As a California worker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, you know how easily your PTSD symptoms could negatively affect your job should you be unable to control them while at work. This is particularly true if you work construction.

Unfortunately, the very fact that construction zones represent some of the noisiest places in the country can tend to increase your PTSD symptoms. Given that sudden loud noises can trigger a PTSD episode, it stands to reason that the loud machinery and equipment constantly all around you can make you overreact if and when you hear a particularly loud noise, such as that emanating from a nail gun or table saw.

Even if you work in another industry, a sudden loud shout or argument can trigger a PTSD episode. In addition, the more people with whom you must interact on a daily basis, the more likely you may lash out if someone drops a tool or speaks to you in a manner most people would shrug off.

Don’t ask, don’t tell? suggests that if you tell your coworkers that you suffer from PTSD, most of them likely will help you avoid workplace PTSD triggers. However, if one of your symptoms is the anxiety you feel that your coworkers might think you have a “mental problem” if they find out about your PTSD, you likely would be better off not telling them about it.

If you cannot bring yourself to tell your coworkers that you suffer from PTSD, you may want to consider telling only your supervisor or someone else you trust who can have your back and hopefully help minimize your stressful workplace situations. If your company offers psychological benefits such as a confidential counseling service, it probably is in your best interests to avail yourself of this help.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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