Military service can take a toll, possibly affecting an individual’s performance even before his or her service commitment is over. One example that comes readily to mind is post-traumatic stress disorder. Although awareness of PTSD among service members returning from active duty has increased, the treatment for this condition remains as much art as science.
In the civilian context, cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy have been successful. In fact, a 2012 study found an 80 percent success rate, measured by whether the patients remained cured of their PTSD symptoms five years after treatment. Both therapies have also been approved by the U.S. Department of Defense.
However, traumatic brain injury symptoms may also coincide or overlap with PTSD, especially among military forces that were exposed to IEDs, or improvised explosive devices in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Those symptoms include memory issues, poor concentration, sleeping problems, anxiety, irritability and/or depression.
Psychological and mental conditions are not as visible as physical injuries, which raises the question of whether PTSD might result in an adverse finding by a military medical evaluation board or physical evaluation board. Unfortunately, such evaluations can make or break a military member’s career, possibly even affecting his or her eligibility for future military benefits. If an individual is declared fit to perform duties for which his or her PTSD makes impossible, problems are likely to follow.
However, an incorrect medical evaluation can be challenged with the help of an attorney that focuses on military law. Military doctors can make mistakes, so it is important to protect your rights.
Source: military.com, “Psychologist: Headway Made on Treatments for PTSD,” Dianna Cahn, Dec. 14, 2015