Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a growing epidemic in our country with about 8 million people struggling with this mental illness in the United States annually.
This condition is generally caused from enduring a terrifying event or string of events. One population at greater risk of developing this condition are active members and veterans of United States military service.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm is committed to helping protect and defend the rights of our brave Wisconsin veterans, and understands one of the best ways to start that process is to share relevant information which may offer insight to those in need of help.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Wisconsin
Gaining a better understanding of the symptoms associated with this diagnosis can help give perspective into the relationship between PTSD and the increased likelihood of being charged with a crime in Wisconsin, such as OWI, drug possession, battery or even homicide.
This article will focus on helping to identify the symptoms of PTSD, giving a better understanding of how this condition may play a central role in how you have come to face criminal charges in Wisconsin, as well as offer some insight for your defense.
If you have PTSD and have been charged with a crime in Wisconsin, it is important to inform a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney of your condition right away, as a diagnosis of PTSD can play a significant role in your defense.
Who is at risk of Developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
While anyone can develop post-traumatic stress disorder, the largest population dealing with PTSD are veterans of military service. Unfortunately, many people suffering from this disorder may ultimately find themselves struggling with substance abuse and/or in trouble with the law.
If you are a Wisconsin veteran struggling with PTSD, consult one of the state’s PTSD resources to help you address the challenges of this disorder.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
It is vitally important to recognize if you or someone you love may be suffering from PTSD. This condition can impact your emotions, state of mind, behavior and sleep patterns.
In addition to causing you physical and psychological challenges, this condition can also pose a threat to your relationships, your job and even your freedom.
Learning to recognize the following symptoms can help you to identify this condition so that you can get the help you need before it’s too late.
If you are facing criminal charges in Wisconsin and have already been diagnosed with PTSD, it is imperative for your defense that you contact a qualified criminal attorney right way of the details of your case.
Reliving a Traumatic Event
If you are struggling with PTSD, you may find yourself stuck in a distressing loop where you continue to experience or relive the traumatic event(s) you either witnessed or were a part of which brought about this condition.
You may experience flashbacks, recurrent nightmares and/or insomnia. You may also experience triggers, which are unrelated sights, sounds, smells, events or other factors which can propel you into reliving that initial traumatic state of mind.
While it seems reasonable to want to distance yourself from situations, events, things or people that remind you of the distressing events leading up to your diagnosis of PTSD, this very avoidance is another one of the symptoms of this disorder.
You may be trying to avoid certain situations because you fear these triggering events might cause you to lose your self-control or further distress.
Though avoidance seems a completely understandable reaction to having lived through the kind of devastating or terrifying events you have endured, it is imperative to get help identifying and treating your condition to help return you to a full life.
Negative Emotional Changes
Living through trauma can impact your ability to return to your same feelings, emotions and desire for relationships. It can affect your entire state of mind.
You may struggle with depression, feelings of guilt and/or loneliness. You may find you are mistrustful and/or fearful of other people of situations.
You may feel irritated, agitated, hostile or angry.
It is also possible to become anhedonic or numb, where you shut down emotionally and don’t feel anything, including love or delight.
Some people with PTSD may even have unwanted thoughts, including suicide.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or other undesirable thoughts, get help immediately.
Hyperarousal or Feeling Agitated
Feeling edgy or bracing for the danger to return are common descriptions of hyperarousal and symptoms of PTSD. If you are experiencing this symptom, you may find you have a short fuse or quick temper and are prone to outbursts. You may also find you are having trouble concentrating or even sleeping.
But All These Symptoms Seem Normal
If you have gone through a frightening or intensely-disturbing event, it is completely natural to initially feel stressed and upset as a result. This does not necessarily mean, however, that you have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD may start immediately after the traumatic experience or may take time to develop. Symptoms may be constant or come and go over time, lasting years.
If your symptoms do not go away in a week or two, but persist and cause you distress, see your doctor immediately to discuss your symptoms. PTSD can impact your relationships, ability to work and more, including your ability to stay out of jail.
As this condition requires a medical diagnosis, seek professional help immediately if you believe you may be suffering from PTSD.
Criminal Charges in Wisconsin and PTSD
It is not uncommon for military personnel to find themselves in legal trouble once they return to civilian life. This can be due, in large part, to the high prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder cases—both diagnosed and undiagnosed.
Understandably, if you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, you may be at a higher risk of getting into trouble with the law. If you have been arrested for a crime such as domestic abuse, battery, even homicide and have been diagnosed with PTSD—or suspect you may suffer from it—share your concerns with a proven criminal defense attorney right away.
If you have not been diagnosed, but are exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, you should notify your attorney and seek medical attention.
Should I Tell My Lawyer I Have PTSD?
Yes. If you are facing criminal charges in Wisconsin and have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or P.T.S.D., it is important to share this information with your attorney.
There are a number of benefits to your defense which may come into play if relevant and if your legal defense team has this important information. A diagnosis of PTSD may help your case in the following ways:
- Help with your appeal
- Help reduce your sentence
- Help getting a new trial granted
- Help challenge your conviction (Habeas Corpus)
- Help with parole
- Help with jail placement
To explore if any of the above factors might apply in your particular case, contact a proven Wisconsin criminal defense attorney today to start exploring potential options in your defense.
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If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, or suspect you may be suffering from this condition, be sure to share this information during your consultation.