Military Discharging More Soldiers For Adjustment Disorder

Two years ago the military changed the way they discharged troops suffering from combat stress under pressure from Congress. If soldiers suffering had a pre-existing personality disorder, they are given an administrative discharge as opposed to a medical discharge. Because of that change, soldiers were left without any benefits, including medical care.

These types of discharges have now been focused on “adjustment disorder.” Under fear soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are being thrown through a loop hole and not given the correct medical discharge, Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) is asking the military for more information on how many soldiers have been discharged because of adjustment disorders. If soldiers suffering from PTSD and/or TBI are given administrative discharges, which includes adjustment disorders, they will be sent into the civilian world with no medical coverage.

Adjustment disorder refers to how a person handles a traumatic event. The military’s policy is that if these symptoms last longer than 6 months, the person’s diagnosis is changed to PTSD. If a soldier is discharged with PTSD, that soldier is honorably medically retired with a disability rating of 50% at the least and medical care. The symptoms of adjustment disorder are very similar to those of PTSD:

  • Flashbacks;
  • Nightmares;
  • Sleeplessness;
  • Irritability;
  • Anger; and
  • Avoidance.

According to a former JAG officer, switching a diagnosis from PTSD to adjustment disorder is both common and illegal. When a soldier has an adjustment disorder because they’re adjusting to combat-that is called PTSD and that is how the discharge should be given. There is no reason for what probably amounts to hundreds of soldiers being discharged with PTSD and not receiving benefits.

Learn more about soldiers being discharged for adjustment disorder instead of PTSD and not being given medical benefits.

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