Army Misdiagnosed Soldiers Suffering From PTSD - "THEY" Damaged our Vets too


Senior Member
Army Misdiagnosed Soldiers Suffering From PTSD
Katie Drummond Contributor
AOL News Surge Desk
(Aug. 16) -- Hundreds of troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of combat were subsequently fired from the Army for pre-existing medical conditions instead of being given Pentagon-funded treatment, veterans' advocates and reports say.

Now, advocates are pushing the Pentagon to re-examine thousands of diagnoses and, if necessary, re-institute medical care and benefits that some troops had been denied.

PTSD vs. Personality Disorder

The key diagnostic distinction comes down to PTSD versus personality disorders. The latter are defined as "pre-existing" conditions, making them fair grounds for dismissal from military service and denial of benefits.

For years, military discharge records indicate that the Army was misdiagnosing soldiers suffering from PTSD, contending that the soldiers suffered from personality disorders and therefore couldn't qualify for veterans' care or disability benefits, according to an investigative report published in April in The Nation.

Between 2005 and 2007, the Army discharged 1,000 troops a year for personality disorders, the report said. After harsh governmental and public criticism, policy changes led to a 75 percent decrease in such diagnoses, it said.

PTSD is considered a treatable disorder, caused by the rigors of war or other severe trauma. The number of troops found to suffer from PTSD has doubled since 2008, when the shift in policy occurred, the report said.

Progress Thus Far -- or a Lack Thereof?

Advocates want to see veterans re-evaluated, and the Pentagon says it has complied with that request.

"We did not find evidence that soldiers with PTSD had been inappropriately discharged with personality disorder," Maria Tolleson, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Army Medical Command, wrote to The Associated Press.

Not so fast, say several advocacy groups. They're alleging the Army never even interviewed dismissed veterans or their families during the review, and likely made crucial mistakes as a result.

Now, members of the National Veterans Legal Services Program are conducting their own independent review of 130 cases. They've also partnered with several law firms that are willing to offer free legal services to vets who think they were wrongly dismissed.

Providing Better PTSD Protection

More than 14,000 troops have been diagnosed with PTSD since 2008, and studies estimate one in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars likely suffer from the condition.
Which means the military's got much more to do when it comes to addressing PTSD. First up is accurately diagnosing and documenting it, a process that could soon be revamped in a mega-database being developed this year. The database would rely on telemedicine and wireless Web connections to document soldiers' injuries as soon as they happen, and then monitor their mental health in the weeks, months and years that followed.

Of course, that assumes the military can even diagnose PTSD in the first place. The condition -- which, notably, can have symptoms similar to personality disorders, like depression, anxiety, anger -- lacks a foolproof diagnostic method, and the associated stigma often prevents veterans from seeking evaluation at all.

Filed under: Nation, Health, Surge Desk
Tagged: post traumatic stress disorder help, veterans, veterans affairs, army, ptsd, u s army medical command, national veterans legal services program, post traumatic stress disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome
Related Searches: veterans benefits, department of veterans affairs, va benefits for veterans, post traumatic stress disorder veterans
Sofa, UK
I meant to post this rather nasty story ages ago but wasn't sure what thread to put it on. This thread seems perfect for it...

One of Britain's best-known soldiers has dismissed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the armed forces as little more than an excuse for recruits to leave the service early.

Andy McNab, the former SAS soldier now turned best-selling author, said servicemen and women "were very resilient" and that the perception that significant numbers of them suffered PTSD was wrong.

McNab, who spent the best part of two decades in the army, said there was a trend for armed forces personnel wanting to leave before the end of their contract to claim they had PTSD in order to obtain a medical discharge and a pension.

"It is starting to be perceived as an honourable excuse for leaving prematurely," he said. "It is in effect the new 'back problem', an injury that is very difficult to diagnose."
As I've mentioned here before, my self-diagnosis is WTF. But before I found this site, when I looked online it sounded to me like WTF was a lot more like GWI than CFS. Which is just to say that I'm not sure what the difference is between CFS and GWI frankly, other than that GWI was acquired by soliders in the gulf, and PTSD, I guess, includes quite a lot of CFS and WTF as well...these conditions are all syndromatic and they all overlap so they should be studied side by side, which seems quite obvious to me but apparently not to everyone.

If there is any population that gets more disgraceful "medical" treatment from its state than people with ME and CFS, then it has to be the armed forces who have served and acquired ideopathic illnesses during their service, and are then cast aside, doubted and ignored just as we are.

We really need to hook up, make connections, and bring these different silos together. Not in the sense of lumping everything together in one big "wastebasket" diagnosis, but in the sense of connecting over the issues we have in common and sharing knowledge and experience.

There must be some people from the armed services with "PTSD" or "GWI" or "GWS" reading this board, and hopefully this thread - I know there's interest in XMRV from people with GWI. So if that means you: feel free to join and say hi, I'm sure we'd love to hear from you, and I think we would all gain from being a bit more connected.

But mostly I'd want to say to such people: utmost respect for your service to your country, and great anger at the way your country has treated some of you in return.