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How Can I Manage My PTSD at Work?

If you are an Iowa worker who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, you may worry that your PTSD symptoms could affect your job if they appear too often while you are at work. If you are a construction worker, your chances of this happening are greater than they are for people who work in less noisy occupations. Construction zones are notoriously noisy places that can make your life quite challenging when you have PTSD. Loud machinery mandates loud voices, and if one of your PTSD symptoms is general anxiety, this constant noise can cause you to overreact when an especially loud sudden noise occurs. such as a bursting water pipe, a shrieking table saw, a pounding nail gun or a sparking wire.

In addition, the very fact that you must constantly interact with numerous other people can increase your anxiety and result in inappropriate outbursts. For instance, if one of your co-workers drops a tool, instead of merely jumping like most people would, you may lash out at him. In other situations, what for most people would be a difference of opinion could for you become a heated argument.

To tell or not to tell

As explains, if your co-workers know you have PTSD, they likely can help you avoid workplace problems. On the other hand, if one of your PTSD anxiety symptoms is the fear that your coworkers will look down on you if they know you have a “mental problem,” telling them that you suffer from PTSD may be extremely difficult. One alternative, if you have a good relationship with your supervisor, is to tell only him about your PTSD so he can look out for you and try to minimize your stressful situations. Another option, if your company offers psychological benefits, is to seek help from your company’s psychologist.

Identifying your PTSD triggers

One of the best ways to prevent your PTSD episodes from happening at work is to identify your triggers. Write a list of the things that set you off, such as surprises, sudden loud noises, yelling, possibly even a particular tool, and keep this “trigger table” in your pocket. You may discover that having this reminder available to you at all times helps you avoid the tasks and encounters that trigger your bad memories and overreactions. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.