Battleland

The Unintended Consequences of the Current PTSD Diagnosis

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Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are on patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2006

This is the last in my series of posts on the ethics of treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (the first simply outlined ethical issues for military mental-health personnel; then I wrote about the right time to send a service member back into combat; how to maintain confidentiality between a service member and the mental-health professional; and why the military’s best mental-health programs are not available to everyone in uniform).

Now I want to discuss the good and bad consequences of automatically giving a 50% disability rating for PTSD.

I hesitate to post on this, as I know that there will be folks out there who say I am “trying to save the Army money by screwing the vets out of what rightfully belongs to them.”

Know that this is not my intention: I am all for vets receiving the disability that is due them.

But to automatically give 50% disability for one particular diagnosis creates a major incentive to get that diagnosis — and keep it.

I repeat: the issue for me, and many of my colleagues, is not whether the veterans deserve disability after an unrelenting 11 years of war. It is whether one diagnosis — PTSD — deserves more than schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or depression. And whether that automatic disability does more harm than good by discouraging patients from getting better.

This is not a new issue. Questions of fairness regarding veterans’ disability were a major issue in World War I, both in the U.K. and the U.S. And disability compensation has continued to be an issue in every war since then, especially following Vietnam.

In my experience, there are two types of service members: those who will not go near the mental-health issue because of worry about their career and those who are already getting out, who are encouraged by the system to stay to get that PTSD diagnosis.

Before I go on, let me give a little background. If service members are medically discharged from the military, they go before a medical-evaluation board, which makes a recommendation as to whether they are medically unfit for duty. Then they go to a physical-evaluation board, which makes the determination and gives them a disability rating.

If you receive a rating of at least 30%, then you are medically retired. This means that you essentially receive 30% (or more) of your base pay, plus the benefits of a retiree. Retiree benefits include free health care at a military hospital, on a space-available basis.

In the old days (prior to about 2007), PTSD was not adequately compensated for. Patients received maybe 5% or 10% for PTSD. There would normally be a severance package and no medical retirement.

The disability system is in the process of changing, so that there will be one combined disability process. It used to be that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability process was a totally separate one. First you got your rating from the military, then from the VA. That latter rating was almost always higher. The disability rating is periodically reviewed by the VA. In practice the disability stays the same or increases as the veteran ages, and the disability gets worse.

PTSD now receives an automatic 50% disability rating from the Army, no matter how mild or severe the symptoms are. In my experience, the VA rating is the same or greater. For a private, that works out to about $1,000 a month.

Some argue that this automatic disability is not helpful. It creates an incentive for all military members to get the diagnosis of PTSD, rather than depression or anxiety. It also creates a disincentive to getting better.

One of my colleagues wrote, after seeing my draft for this blog post:

Why wouldn’t we expect to see epidemic rates of PTSD in a force at war for 10 years, with unprecedented deployment and combat exposure? Why should we be so carefully scrutinizing the diagnosis of mental illness after deployment, when we continue to happily overlook obvious mental illness as we screen for deployability? And why should veterans who have deployed multiple times have to justify receiving 50% of their enlisted salary, when officers who have managed to avoid deployment can retire after 20 comfortable years with 75%?

If the argument is fundamentally an economic one, there are better opportunities for savings elsewhere. The current disability system is a small price to pay for the sacrifices this generation has endured on our behalf. If the argument is fundamentally one of diagnostic validity affecting treatment and prognosis, we will need a larger evidence base to substantiate this level of concern.

I think he missed my point, and perhaps the readers of this post will too. What I am trying to get at is the issue of automatically giving a single diagnosis a particular rating. And not giving the same for all the other psychological reactions to war, including grief and depression.

I do think that this is an incredibly important issue, which we, as a nation, need to discuss. As usual, I say that this is not just an Army or VA issue, but also a national one. How do we want to compensate our vets, who have served in combat, whether or not they meet the technical definition of having PTSD?

30 comments
donalddickerson
donalddickerson

I did 2 tours 1st one was to Iraq while in the Air Force back in 2003 I saw some stuff and we had mortar attacks nightly. After I got out in 2004 I went to the doctors and they all said I was fine so I got a job after being let go from 4 different jobs my EASIEST being working at burger king they though I might steal or go off on someone so that is why they let me go. I went back to the docs and they again said everything was fine with me. So at that point I joined the army guard because I needed money. I was then deployed to Afghanistan   being over there only a little over a month I had several issues with my memory and the docs that were over there ran their own tests and they said "we dont know how you made it back in or for that fact how you could even deploy but you are being sent home" back home now I was sent to FT Gordon GA I was seen by doctors every day and after being there 9 months I was finally getting discharged when I got the papers I was given 50% so I was fine with that. When I went to JAG the person there said I should be getting 100% from the VA. So I took the 50% and went on to the VA and the VA gave me 60% so i said YES!!!! I can go back to work well I got my OLD job back as a security guard and after going to the ER 3 times over 6-7 months my job told me that I needed to resign or be let go because I did not tell them How BAD I was off. All I did as a security guard was to push a button to open a gate and look to see if there was a decal on the car to let them on the property. If I cant do that job then what can I do. Now after 2 years of not working I was increased to 80% and My other claim for PTSD was going up for an increase. I will know if I get my increase in a month. I would LOVE to work but because of what I have I cant hold a job. 

fine 100% will give me $3000+- a month but I had wanted to at some point in my life to be a 6 figure job guy. 

dont tell me making $36000 a year is the greatest thing because it is not.

I go to the psychologist a few times a month and dont see an end to that anytime soon. I drink (when needed) and take my meds that make me feel like a zombie no highs no lows. 

For everyone that has PTSD thank you for what you go thru every day and at some point WE will get our day. It took how many YEARS for agent orange to come out. I think we were either given a drug or something to make us this way. 

Jeremiah-SummerAnderson
Jeremiah-SummerAnderson

It amazes me how you say that any soldier with PTSD gets 50%.......tell me how that happens.  My husband is suffering from PTSD and got NOTHING for it from the VA except hes told to go to Walmart and expose himself to people to get over it.  You make it sound so easy but we have been fighting for his PTSD since 08.  Its right up there with alot of things going on with him.  His back is "fine" but yet he has a rating for it, his hearing is "fine" but yet he has a rating for it.  He has PTSD but we wont give you crap for it.  And when I say "fine", thats what the doctors are telling him that he goes and sees but clearly he is in horrible pain at all times on top of the PTSD.  Do some research before you make our soldiers sound like a bunch of gold digging, money hungry, system milker whinners.  You want to talk about someone that milks the system, write up an article about all the people on welfare and foodstamps that dont need to be.

MattR77
MattR77

Ma'am, 

I understand you've retired from the military, and I thank you for your service to fellow service members and our nation.

That being said, I don't understand the motivation behind a post like this.  As a service member who is awaiting my VA ratings for a multitude of conditions before I medically separate/retire, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the majority of people struggling with PTSD do not give a hoot about compensation.  Every day life is a struggle.  Relationships are either non-existent or extremely strained and volatile.  Life or death experiences get re-lived on a daily basis, and sometimes it's hard to see the light at the top of the hole.  

Personally, and among friends struggling with combat PTSD, we don't care about percentages.  What ever the VA assigns me, it is what it is.  I just think that your blog post should have been oriented more towards how to HELP THOSE WHO NEED HELP, and not complaining about the COMPENSATION for those of us who struggle.  HELP US...Complaining about how much money that is paid out is petty and arrogant. 

PLEASE USE YOUR EXPERTISE AS A DOCTOR TO POST THINGS THAT HELP US...AND STAY OUT OF OUR BANK ACCOUNTS...(Leave that to the bean-counters).

moodykim
moodykim

My cousin's husband did 4 tours of duty in Afghanistan.  He has been in the military for 11 years.  He has severe PTSD.  He has tried to hold a job, but this mental illness/disorder has destroyed him.  He can't hold a job.  He can't go to the VA because if his commander hears that he went to the VA, they will cut him from training and he won't be able to receive pension after 20 years.  I asked my cousin if he can make it 9 more years to get his pension, and she didn't have an answer.  She says that he has pride in what he does, and that is all he knows.  Because of the PTSD, and not being able to keep a job, they are being evicted from their apartment for failure to pay rent.  Talk about insult to injury. 

I feel that anyone who has served our country, especially with multiple tours of duty in a war, and has PTSD should qualify for higher benefits so that they don't need to wait to retire to get a full pension.  This country is terrible with how they repay their soldiers!!   

greg1
greg1

To the writer of this article.  I am not a vet and have PTSD from more than one severe traumatic episodes along with bi-polar disorder which has developed.    The insensitivity I have experienced  from my employer has been horrible.  Anyone who has bullets flying over their head and develops PTSD should be at 100% disability.   There are always going to be those who cheat the system that's the way life works.

ChrisMistyWilson
ChrisMistyWilson

My husband has sever ptsd, after 8 years in the army and 3 tours in iraq as a combat medic. I almost left him because I didnt understand that he is now living with a mental illness. Now I go with him to his psychiatrist monthly, he goes more often. He has sever flash backs and shot our neighbor during one. On his meds I can stay with him if he also has psychiatric help. He was denied any thing for ptsd, or 0 percent. means no more meds and no more psychiatrist, since I am not dumb like the va board and I know this is serious, I must leave him for the safety of my children. After that and he is on no meds and left alone we have spit out another psycho killer. Good Luck world. All he needed was 30 perscent so he could not go crazy and hurt society.

TLH
TLH

hey_doc is exactly right...my husband has "faked normal" for years!

hey_doc
hey_doc

No one makes you Ranger Rick. You are responsible for your actions and inactions. 2) People like Ranger Rick, the ones who hide their problems and try to Soldier on, are the ones that need help (benefits, therapy, everything). The braggers and story tellers are generally the malingerers taking advantage of the system. The Soldiers with real PTSD are alienated, withdrawn, ashamed and really don't want (or know how to) talk about it.

We need some experts to distinguish between Soldiers faking disease and Soldiers faking normal. We need a shift in cultural ethos within the military and in the civilian world regarding psychiatric issues.

hey_doc
hey_doc

Whiskey87proof brings up some important points. 1) There is strong motivation - money and health benefits for the Soldier and his family for the rest of his life (applies to hers, just being simple). So a kid maybe 20 years old, sick of the service knows a shortcut to getting out with lifetime benefits. Make up a story or two and you are in the money. 2) The people deployed joined the service. They trained and practiced warfare. So, now with some warfare experience, we are supposed to pity them and pay them for life? Do we do that for EMTs, ambulance and firefighters, emergency room physicians and nurses who all see gruesome horrors, mutilation and death?

Rick Ranger brings up two troubling issues. 1) Discussion goes nowhere with an ad hominem attack. Itspeople like you that makeme

IBee
IBee

PTSD is a DIRECT effect of war that these soldiers have to deal with, whereas things like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia generally aren't; or if they are, it can't be backed by medical fact. I'm not saying that people with bipolar, schizophrenia, or any other mental disorder shouldn't be entitled to medical retirement... They should be. But I think that the tiered rates paid by the military are justified. Think of it from the military's point of view: why should people with mental conditions that the military CAN'T necessarily prevent (such as schizophrenia or bipolar) receive as much compensation as PTSD, which has been PROVEN (in soldiers) to be a direct effect of combat? Essentially, the duties that soldiers are assigned by the military cause this disorder, and the military recognizes that fact and tries to compensate them for it. However, I think that 50% isn't even close to enough for these soldiers that have sacrificed so much for us, although I recognize that part of it is the economy, and the anti-military government officials that are unfortunately in charge of many of our financial assets.

RickRanger
RickRanger

BTW the retirement rate for both officers AND enlisted after 20 is 50%, not 75%.  A little research and fact-checking would have gone a long way in helping your credibility. But I suppose as both a "doctor" and a "consultant" your retirement pay is a mere pittance.

RickRanger
RickRanger

your concern about soldiers "playing" the system only serves to highlight how ineffective the behavioral health community is at actually identifying PTSD sufferers. Case in point: when I first started having symptoms, I went to get help. But, when I started to get concerned that people might consider me a malingerer or that I might have career consequences, I immediately downplayed my symptoms. "Nightmares? Nope. Flashbacks? Nah." the fact that I went from being in weekly therapy to miraculously "cured" never raised an eyebrow. In fact, at our predeployment screening, no one even bothered to look at my records. I know you claim not to be interested in saving the military money, but I still think that it is better to let a few scoundrels get away with it than to force people like me who are genuinely suffering to pretend like everything is okay. Now I am deployed, sleep deprived, profoundly depressed, but God help me, no one will accuse me of making things up so I can get the "generous" benefits you cite as an issue.

Boston8b
Boston8b

We pay our soldiers so little in the first place, why not just give each one a bonus equal to the 50% disability diagnosis, without the diagnosis of PTSD? Seriously. We pay too little, expect too much, and the vet adm handling injuries while in the service is a travesty. Everyone leaving the service should be given a big thank-you in the form of stable benefits, including money and health care, education for the soldier and his/her dependents. Tell me what's wrong with this. And, don't say money; we can find it if we are serious about care for our service people. Maybe two less planes.

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

Percentages are written up by someone sitting in a back office . Try serving in the front line .

jeastman3
jeastman3

There's an online confidential program at PTSDSTRESS.com that lessens the symptoms of PTSD and its effects are long lasting. There is no identification required. It was developed with the help of a NHI researcher and PTSD expert. It solves part of the ethics problem. IT's been in use for over 4 years and has been used by military and non-military alike with significant results.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

To say that people will stay in the military so that they can get an automatic 50% disability for ANYTHING - especially something as debilitating as mental disorders - is like saying guys will cut off their penises so they can get monetary benefits.  Not getting better would be like guys saying, "No thanks, I don't want it back."

I don't think do.

Anyone whose been in and has seen what PTSD does - any mental disorder does - knows it's not something they ever want.  So I tend to think the argument was either not put forth the way you wanted to do it.  It's impossible to put a specific disability number on mental disorders due to service (or any other reason).  At the same time, it's unfair to deny a legitimate claim for disability on financial grounds.  IMHO, start with a high disability rate.  Those who live honorably will seek to be rid of it.  Those who don't, won't. Require periodic screening to maintain it. In the end, they all served and not every service member is disabled when they leave the service.  I think America's shoulders are big enough to let those who have served lean on it a bit for their having let the country lean on them.

ShrinkRapRoy
ShrinkRapRoy

I don't know the right answer here, but true PTSD can be triggered by many things. My question is would this 50% deal apply even if a veteran developed PTSD unrelated to combat or even service? Say they get home and get into a car accident, passenger dies, and develops PTSD.  Do they still get connected pay?

I agree that other causes of disability related to service should be standardized if possible. I totally get the need to try to standardize the decision making because of past white-washing of diagnoses, etc. But is this a two-wrongs issue or is it a legitimate response to an unfairness? I can imagine a smaller number of people wanting to game the system to get $ or SC even if not ill. I would hope most would not.

KimberlyCrosbyDutton
KimberlyCrosbyDutton

As the spouse of a soldier who has served 2 Tours in Bosnia and 4 Tours in Iraq I am clear you do not understand the dynamics of what war does to a soldier ... especially those of repeat tours to the Middle East.  My husband tried his damnedest to avoid admitting he had PTSD but after repeated incidents, which I will not discuss, he finally had to admit he in fact was suffering from PTSD.  An admission I might add that was very upsetting for him.  Perhaps if you had to pick up body parts of a child due to an explosion caused by insurgents, clean out the remains of a fellow soldier in vehicle destroyed by an IED, get your 'bell rung' several times by IEDs exploding near the vehicle you were riding in or be saved by the very body armor you were wearing when hit in the back by a bullet and live under the constant threat of incoming mortars ... perhaps you would then understand how even one tour in the Middle East is enough to cause PSTD.   You cannot put a price on what multiple deployments have cost our soldiers mentally and physically ... and this is not something you just get over in a little while ... this will probably affect most of our soldiers for LIFE. 

LO2daPEZ
LO2daPEZ

I am a Infantrymen that is going through the MEB/PEB right now. It is funny how someone can put percentage rates and dollar signs on a mental diagnosis. I have done three deployments to Iraq and seen my fair share of combat. I will say this I would give ANYTHING to have my life back to normal both physically and psychologically. No amount of monetary compensation, medication or treatment can take away the nightmares, depression, anxiety and suffering I have gone through in the past ten years.

 I agree with whisky87proof in that I did not go through the same intense combat like those generations before did in WWII, Korea and Vietnam but, when you get down to it combat at the front is COMBAT. There is a difference when you compare one persons experience to another, but the core issue is how to identify who legitimately suffers from PTSD. It feels as if society has this perverse need to label this and label that to identify a problem and not really deal with it. 

I asked for help and treatment and was given pills and a half ass attempt by therapists at FT Sam Houston. The system was so broken I paid out of pocket for an outside source to get the help I needed. At the same time I witnessed others milk the system and have seen my unit leadership take Soldiers with real problems and issues either chaptered out or swept under the rug, while they themselves navigate the system with greatest of ease to receive the entitlements they "deserve." The system needs an overhaul period and those who choose to play God out of it.  

whisky87proof
whisky87proof

As a combat infantrymen, It is my opinion that a large number of PTSD cases are purely economic, and a sizable percentage of those claiming benefits are simple frauds, or at best they have been duped by society in to thinking they have a problem, or that a minor problem is debilitating.

Let us first review the utter lie behind concept of "unprecedented deployment and combat exposure" WWII wasn't even  unprecedented combat exposure, and men served for the duration in heavy (you know where both sides have artillery and air power and are really killing the each other at the rapid rate) combat for months at a time living in the field. Units often suffered casualties in excess of 100% annually (or weekly depending on the battle). Do not tell me even the saltiest m'fer serving today saw anything like the amount of horror that a guy like Ira Hayes who enlisted after pearl harbor and managed to survive the entire pacific war as a marine raider/ infantryman saw. (note: Ira Hayes drank himself to death) So don't tell me some feel sorry for myself story about unprecedented deployment and combat its a load of  self pity educing crock. This war (which I fought on the "front lines") was hardly a war at all, more like a massacre, we massacre them in gunfights, and they murder us while we drive down the road purely asymmetric. 

Now lets look at the case of the pure fraud claimer. The media would have you believe that all "our troops" our heroes, engaged in an epic and dangerous struggle for "freedom" and all of them have seen some $h*T and made sacrifices on your behalf. This is a load of crap. A large portion of the armed forces has never deployed, an even large portion has never seen any combat (on an individual level). And only a small minority has experienced any protracted combat or danger. (ie been outside the wire in a hostile environment for more than a few hours) The vast majority of deployed personnel live on massive bases, complete with movie theaters, KFCs and in some cases swimming pools. People on these bases have a much better chance of dieing in a motorcycle accident on leave than being killed in combat. A small minority of us actually served in combat units, ie rifle companies, tank platoons, engineer companies. These personnel usually spend a lot of time outside the wire if they are station on a big base, or as is often the case with infantry companies in particular, live in their own small compound that is probably only defended by 5 or so active guards at a time. These men make up the vast majority of the casualties of the war despite what CNN tells you about jessica lynch and her little convoy. Why? because any road that the supply convoy runs down in thier huge armourd trucks with a platoon of engineers sweeping for mines in front, was just patroled 20 minutes prior by 12 gurnts either on foot or in HUMVEEs. I'm going to ask you this: how can Chair Force Tech Sgt. Johnson, who flew into a mega-base on a C-130 flew out of it on a C-7 and the most grueling patrol he went on was to KFC have PTSD? Meanwhile Lcpl Jones, USMC who got in a good healthy firefight every week, slept in the mud and walked around the whole damn country while watching 5 of his 12 squadmates be killed not have PTSD? Why because they are both lairs that's why the only difference is one of them actually has pride and integrity.

now lets look at the guy who society convinced he has PTSD. Cpl Jones lets say. He comes home, he's been in some scrapes and seen some friends get killed (thousands, whole generations before him have experienced this same thing) And all of his friends have experienced it too, on their Ps3s in while they were skipping class. Now every time he hears a firework go off he jumps a little, and maybe he has a nightmare from time to time, but he is a functional member of society. That is until his friends notice his little quirk and every one he meets is asking him for a Call of Duty score type accounting of how many men hes killed. Suddenly he doesn't fit in at home because no one else understands "what he went through" (like it was some terrible ordeal that no-one else has ever experienced) because in his mind it was a terribly unique ordeal, but in reality generations of men before him have experienced combat on at least as personal a level, but he doesn't understand this because most people of his generation have seen only an idealist projection of combat, but think they understand it because they saw it on TV. They also think their budy is F'ed up cuase he actually saw combat, so they treat him like he's F'd up, so he becomes more and more outcased and f'ed up.

RickRanger
RickRanger

People like you are the reason I concealed my PTSD before I deployed. Now I am suffering in silence, lest I be accused of trying to ride the system.

BrianStephens
BrianStephens

Surely the diagnosis should be able to weed out those who are genuine sufferers. I know of a woman who is now undergoing treatment for PTSD who previously sent photos of herself to her parents and Facebook showing her smiling and enjoying  being alive while there even in spite of the horrors  she witnessed in a forward base in Afghanistan. She came back to the U.S. and was given a job entailing, or so I gather, being on a boat behind a machine gun. Before that she went through whatever debriefing  was considered necessary, but then subsequently needed psychological help. She is now undergoing  investigation for several months in a specialised unit in S. California. A photo of her wired up for EEG shows a broken woman. If low percentage sufferers are willing to get out in order to be with their families so be it, but seeing  this lovely girl clearly broken by her experiences makes me want to say "give her all the money she needs to live a normal happy life" And treat her successfully as well. Perhaps then gradually tail off the payments as the percentage stress diminishes, if it ever will. The country owes it to her.  

WoundedTimes
WoundedTimes

Are you talking to Sally Satel? After all that is the same kind of nonsense she has been talking about since she gave the same advice to the Bush Administration leading to the lack of planning to have programs and claims processors in place.  

The first fact is that less than half of the veterans needing help for PTSD actually go for it.  When the troops come home, this generation is no different than all others before them.  They don't want to wait another second before they can return to their families.  There are two differences between this generation and older veterans.  One is that the media is finally reporting on what war does to those we send and the other is the redeployments increasing the risk of PTSD which the Army knew would happen in 2006.

If what you claim came close to being true, you'd see lines around every VA facility and processing centers implode. If they have PTSD, by the time they get help it is usually a lifetime change for them that does not go away.  They can heal but that depends on the right help and above all the right information which you just stuck block to.

AnnetteMcNamara
AnnetteMcNamara

What I think I am hearing you say is that the Military and VA need to address depression, anxiety, etc. I also heard that a person in combat is more likely to be passed over because those with desk job are getting 50% rating's. I have seen these case's where those from 2007 returned served one tour and have 100% rating and are not in counseling instead are given high med's. Yet, the Combat Infantry veteran's are fighting for 10% and have serious PTSD, this cause's great anger when some take advantage of the system and leave those that need it fighting for the help they really need. Thank you for bring up this subject that hit's home for many Warrior's. When We Know Better, We Do Better.

cphillip10
cphillip10

@Jeremiah-SummerAnderson I am a retired service member that does receive compensation for PTSD.  I replied because I find your comments to be overly exaggerated.  If you expect people to sympathize or believe your claims, come up with another crock of a story, because like me, everyone that has read your post probably does not believe it entirely. 

USMCShrink
USMCShrink

@LO2daPEZ You asked for treatment and got pills and therapy. What other treatment is there (with evidence supporting its effectiveness)? Do you think there's something else out there, besides medication and/or therapy, that's being withheld from you?

klepp0906
klepp0906

Yea I can tell your destroyed. People that truly have PTSD wouldn't be "concealing" anything. We have raised a generation of women men. So you just got done ducking and hiding cause guns scared you? Fine. Now your a little jumpy? Whatever. Doesn't entitle the majority of you to a free ride. As someone else said, millions do just fine and have for millennia. U think u had it had? Imagine combat pre gun powder. We have it oh so easy relative to that.

WoundedTimes
WoundedTimes

@RickRanger This is exactly what I was worried about with more of this nonsense coming out.  My husband came home from Vietnam in 1971, yet it took until 1993 to get him to go for help and another 6 years fighting to have his claim approved. I got his friends to go but it was almost impossible to get him to  the VA. He thought he'd get over it but when he finally faced the fact he couldn't, he thought it was his fault and was ashamed.  Imagine that eating away at you that long.  It got worse for him until he got help and has been healing every since.  You have to remember that back then we didn't have the Internet or online support.  Now your generation does.  Learn from them.  They had to learn the hard way they have nothing to be ashamed of any more than any other generation when it used to be called "shell shock" and your generation has nothing to be ashamed of either.  Learn what the military and Ritchie didn't tell you and find what you need to heal and make peace with yourself.  

Go to my blog at woundedtimes.blogspot.com and see the top tabs.  There are videos I did on Great Americans for PTSD.  You can also email me. Don't suffer in silence anymore!

newarmywidow
newarmywidow

@AnnetteMcNamara Thanks for this comment.  My husband died one month after making 100%; he was stuck at Army rated 30-50% for the longest time; having complications of Agent Orange-induced diabetes (once they had agent orange in the camp water supply by accident so entire camp was sick and some died, which is a lot of agent orange to ingest at one time).  Anyway he was in a civil service job and was forced out of a hostile workplace by some litle Air Force guy who was 100% w/o ever being in active combat.  He caused my husband a lot of harm and my husband was VERY forbearing to let him live and even quit the job w/o a fight.  That little Air Force guy should come to a bad end.  Lots of that happens in reality; and I'm sick that my husband who had major combat time and subsequent issues could not get the respect he deserved in his work place or get the rating he earned until way too late. 

AgnesMacMullen
AgnesMacMullen

I would really think long and hard about challenging the validityIf someone's claim that they have issues with the VA and the way their case was handled. While some go well others get horribly botched up. Even if the claim goes through, you have to deal with treatment. I've got my primary care doctor trying to push meds on me constantly. They switched it my counselor for another who doesn't have experience with veterans. Meanwhile my friend in Colorado is lucky to be seen once every two months abs when they do see him they don't treat him. They just change his meds.

So I'm very happy that you've had a wonderful time with the VA. Know that but everyone does.


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