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Leave the Diagnosis to the Doctor

For people who experience a psychological injury like PTSD, there is a need to figure out exactly where it stems from. The thought is usually that if we can figure out the WHY of the injury, we can figure out the HOW of fixing it.

Unfortunately, we don’t always get it right and that could prove harmful in many ways. Let’s consider for a second a common physical injury like a twisted ankle. We can know how it happened if pain is immediate and sometimes, we can fix it on our own, and sometimes we need professionals to figure out the exact nature of the injury such as: are the muscles just pulled or are they detached? Are the bones intact? This is what determines the best course of rehabilitation. Simply having a “sore ankle” could mean a lot of different things.

Now consider that analogy to the psychological injury. If we decide that our injury MUST HAVE come from something recent or a major event in the distant past, we focus our efforts in recovery on that. But what if its deeper or more varied than that? Or maybe what you are attaching your symptoms to was the most recent trauma, but not what is actually the cause of what you are now going through? The thing is we don’t “know” which is why we need to involve people that can help us to figure that out. We need to involve our doctor and mental health professionals the same way we would go to the hospital and see the proper type of physician for the nature of a physical injury.

Making a self-proclaimed diagnosis or decision as to the cause of our injury can have significant impact on the type of treatment we receive and what types of care we are eligible for.

Presumptive Legislation is there so that the working “presumption” stemming from a diagnosis of PTSD is that it is related to your work unless proven otherwise. It is important to remember that if we, in the heat of crisis and injury declare the injury caused by what is essentially a best guess, it may affect what types of treatment initially recommended by our doctors, the types of care, and how we reduce our exposure to what is causing us harm. The answer to what is causing this and what we need are not generally straightforward. Often it's the exposure to multiple potentially traumatic events that cause PTSD in our professions and not a single incident. This could mean there are many layers that need to be worked on to help us recover. If you make a statement as to the cause of the injury prior to your work with a psychologist, that statement can lead to denials if a WCB claim is initiated. A potential reason for denial would then be information on record counter to what you discover in treatment. This is why there is legislation in place, so that in the moment of psychological crisis, you are given the time and resources to heal. To explore with your psychologist or psychiatrist what you are going through and your treatment options before having to come up with answers.

In taking time to heal and understand without committing yourself to the cause of the injury, it's sometimes the best and only gift the present YOU can give to your future YOU. To not go down the rabbit hole by trying to figure it out alone and potentially deny yourself the resources you need to heal. This is where the insight of the doctor aids in your recovery.

For Further Detail:

Our target demographic: The target demographic of OSI-CAN are but are not limited to: former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist, Corrections Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community. We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.

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