Time to Lawyer Up: Common Signs and Stages of PTSD Seen in Contractors

Time to Lawyer Up: Common Signs and Stages of PTSD Seen in Contractors

Mar 21, 2020 | PTSD

Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects only 3.5% of American adults, about one in eleven Americans will be diagnosed with it at some point in their life. It doesn’t just affect soldiers on the ground, but defense contractors working in conflict areas as well. It’s essential for defense contractors to be aware of their labor rights to protect their wellbeing. 

The Defense Base Act (DBA) provides resources and compensation for workers with government contracts. However, many people eligible for this program may not realize they meet the criteria. After all, there are several stages of PTSD and this condition can present differently in different people.

No one with PTSD should have to suffer alone. If you’re unsure about your case, make sure to read about the common signs and stages of PTSD below. 

Stages of PTSD

PTSD is not a neat and simple disorder. It’s messy, disorganized, and may not even rear its head for years after the trauma event. Despite these, there are some clear criteria that professionals use to diagnose PTSD.


The general first stage of PTSD is the ’emergency’ stage. This is the most intense stage of the disorder, where everything feels intense and anxiety is almost constant. Other common, strong emotions are fear, guilt, shock, and helplessness.

This stage focuses on the initial reactions to the traumatic event. It can also be called the ‘outcry’ stage or the ‘impact’ stage. The nature of the traumatic event determines how long this stage lasts. 


The intense emotions of the emergency stage often feel unsustainable. To cope with this, it’s common for the mind and body to encourage numbness and denial. This is to shield the brain and body from the impact of these feelings. 

This is one of the most difficult stages to move past and requires professional, compassionate mental health care. 


Despite the best efforts to remain numb or in denial, intrusive and repetitious thoughts almost always occur. This can be in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts. They are usually accompanied by extreme anxiety and can lead to sleep disorders

Although this is also a very difficult stage, it’s a signal that the patient is ready to confront the reality of what happened to them.


As those with PTSD learn to accept their trauma, they move into the recovery phase. True healing finally begins and patients should learn how to incorporate more positivity into their general outlook on life. 

At this point, they should be returning to normal life and start to feel that sense of “normalcy” again. 


The integration stage implies that the person with PTSD can successfully integrate their coping strategies into their daily life. Although the traumatic event will never fully leave them, it’s transformed into an accepted part of their life story. Although PTSD only 3.5% of American adults, about one in eleven Americans will be diagnosed with it at some point in their life.

Making a Claim

Once you’ve learned the stages of PTSD, evaluated your own situation, and made time to see a mental health professional, you’re ready to make a DBA claim. Unfortunately, this process is not as straightforward and easy as it should be.

People making these claims often need an experienced attorney to help them fight the insurance companies. If you or a loved one is ready to get the help you deserve, don’t hesitate to contact our DBA experts now.