Regardless what you call it, numerous discharged Veterans are returning home ineligible for health care benefits that they need now more than ever.
At the height of the Iraq war, the military routinely dismissed hundreds of soldiers for having what they called a personality disorder. A Personality disorder is defined as “a deeply ingrained maladaptive pattern of behavior” PTSD is defined as a mental condition caused by acute stress of combat. We all know PTSD is of course service connected. A personality disorder is considered a pre-existing or non service connected condition which renders the Veteran ineligible to receive treatment or a disability rating.
According to experts, symptoms of PTSD and Personality Disorder Behavior are identical in nature. Therefore, it is difficult for even the experienced mental health experts to distinguish between the two.
Statistics indicate, the Army discharged nearly a 1,000 soldiers each year between 2005 and 2007 with Personality Disorder Behavior. Pressure from congress and the public caused the Army to review those soldiers who were discharged with Personality Disorder Behavior. This review forced the Army to change many of the discharge orders reducing these numbers by 75%.
The Army denies that any soldier was misdiagnosed before 2008 although they drastically reduced the number of discharges due to Personality Disorder Behavior while PTSD claims skyrocketed. Now in 2009 only 260 soldiers were discharged with Personality Disorder Behavior rating. Command officials declined to be interviewed althoughMaria TollisonMaria a spokeswoman for the US Army medical command said that they have not determined that the Army discharged any soldier inappropriately.
Advocates for our soldiers say the only reason for the significant drop in the numbers of discharges with Personality Disorder Behavior can only be due to intentional mistakes. Despite pressure from congress and the Defense Department , groups like the National Veterans Legal Service Program say that they don’t have enough people to process the claims and police the claims and make things right.
The Va can change the policies and laws as the see fit anytime they choose. This power gives them the ability to dismiss well grounded claims for no reason. Now the Army has added dimension by creating a condition they refer to as “adjustment disorder”. This condition replaces Personality Disorder Behavior.
How many misdiagnosed Veterans will take to call this a travesty of justice; how many Veteran’s lives must the government decide to ruin before we reach our breaking point. This is just another example of the broken promises Veterans have had to endure over the years.