Civilians Working Overseas Are Susceptible to PTSD

Civilians Working Overseas Are Susceptible to PTSD

Nov 12, 2020 | Defense Base Act, PTSD

PTSD can strike at any time. On the battlefield or on the base, while working overseas or while relaxing at home, you can suffer the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Thankfully PTSD is manageable. You can receive treatment and workers compensation under the Defense Base Act. Here is a quick guide to recognizing the signs of PTSD and making the first steps toward receiving a claim. 

Know the Symptoms

PTSD is a mental health problem that develops after exposure to a traumatic event. PTSD symptoms generally surface soon after the event, but they may take months or years to surface in full, and they may come and go. Symptoms fall into four categories


You find that memories of the traumatic events recur, inducing fear, horror, and dread. You may have nightmares about the event, or you may feel you are reliving the event somehow.

Avoiding Similar Situations

You avoid situations that are in some way similar to the event, such as media depictions of it. You may avoid crowds, or you may avoid the location where the traumatic event occurred. 

Negative Feelings

You feel significantly worse after the event. Your positive feelings toward the ones you love lessen, and you may distance yourself from them. You may lose trust in the world around you, or your self-esteem may diminish. 


You become jittery, on the lookout for danger, or irritable. You may find it hard to concentrate or sleep, and sudden noises or sensations may startle you. 

After any traumatic event, whether you are physically injured or not, seek medical attention. If you or someone you know suffers from symptoms of PTSD for more than one month, see an on-base medic. 

Understand Your Rights While Working Overseas

Regardless of your veteran status, the exact nature of your injuries, or the amount of medical attention you seek, you have rights to compensation. The Defense Base Act protects civilians who work overseas and are injured, including from PTSD

Your traumatic event does not have to be in a combat setting. The DBA protects you from injuries in non-combat incidents, including car accidents and sexual assaults. 

Under the DBA, you as a civilian have two years to file a claim for PTSD. You can receive treatment, continue working, or go on a medical leave of absence before filing a claim, though you should notify your supervisor immediately after you start having PTSD symptoms.

Before filing a claim, document your injuries, the traumatic event, and other relevant facts. Interview witnesses about the event and your injuries. Find a physician who can give you a formal diagnosis of PTSD, and consult an experienced attorney on your next steps.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

Working overseas at a defense base is a great way to serve your country. If you develop PTSD from a traumatic event while overseas, you can serve yourself and the ones you love with a Defense Base Act claim. Learn to recognize the symptoms of PTSD, learn your rights under the DBA, and then find a knowledgeable attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve.

For a free consultation, email us or call us at (713)-652-4002.