“I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD”—says military doc

From Salon today we see what is already been whispered about here and there. Soldiers denied benefits for war injuries and told that their emotional problems were pre-existing, etc, all so that the government doesn’t have to support these men and women thrown into the war our government created. Now we have proof.

By the way, I believe virtually all mental health problems regardless of diagnosis boils down to some manifestation of PTSD. It’s the only credible diagnosis out there when it’s truly a “mental problem.” Then there are quite a few very real physical issues that can cause psychiatric symptoms which routinely get overlooked by psychiatrists.

Listen to the segment of a doc confessing the pressure for him to NOT diagnose PTSD here.

Here is the article from Salon:

“Sgt. X” is built like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he rode in while in Iraq. He’s as bulky, brawny and seemingly impervious as a tank.

In an interview in the high-rise offices of his Denver attorneys, however, symptoms of the damaged brain inside that tough exterior begin to appear. Sgt. X’s eyes go suddenly blank, shifting to refocus oddly on a wall. He pauses mid-sentence, struggling for simple words. His hands occasionally tremble and spasm.

For more than a year he’s been seeking treatment at Fort Carson for a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, the signature injuries of the Iraq war. Sgt. X is also suffering through the Army’s confusing disability payment system, handled by something called a medical evaluation board. The process of negotiating the system has been made harder by his war-damaged memory. Sgt. X’s wife has to go with him to doctor’s appointments so he’ll remember what the doctor tells him.

But what Sgt. X wants to tell a reporter about is one doctor’s appointment at Fort Carson that his wife did not witness. When she couldn’t accompany him to an appointment with psychologist Douglas McNinch last June, Sgt. X tucked a recording device into his pocket and set it on voice-activation so it would capture what the doctor said. Sgt. X had no idea that the little machine in his pocket was about to capture recorded evidence of something wounded soldiers and their advocates have long suspected — that the military does not want Iraq veterans to be diagnosed with PTSD, a condition that obligates the military to provide expensive, intensive long-term care, including the possibility of lifetime disability payments. And, as Salon will explore in a second article Thursday, after the Army became aware of the tape, the Senate Armed Services Committee declined to investigate its implications, despite prodding from a senator who is not on the committee. The Army then conducted its own internal investigation — and cleared itself of any wrongdoing.

When Sgt. X went to see McNinch with a tape recorder, he was concerned that something was amiss with his diagnosis. He wanted to find out why the psychologist had told the medical evaluation board that handles disability payments that Sgt. X did not, in fact, have PTSD, but instead an “anxiety disorder,” which could substantially lower the amount of benefits he would receive if the Army discharged him for a disability. The recorder in Sgt. X’s pocket captured McNinch in a moment of candor. (Listen to a segment of the recording here.)

“OK,” McNinch told Sgt. X. “I will tell you something confidentially that I would have to deny if it were ever public. Not only myself, but all the clinicians up here are being pressured to not diagnose PTSD and diagnose anxiety disorder NOS [instead].” McNinch told him that Army medical boards were “kick[ing] back” his diagnoses of PTSD, saying soldiers had not seen enough trauma to have “serious PTSD issues.”
(read the rest of the article here)

9 thoughts on ““I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD”—says military doc

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  1. Sons and daughters.
    Was speaking as a dad who only has sons – Didn’t meant to leave out the many women who serve. In fact, we have an Army nurse in our family.

    Of course these people have PTSD, and need something besides drugs….It’s a no-brainer after the number of tours some of them have served, and all they’ve been through!

    After re-reading my first comment, it comes across as pretty selfish…Not wanting my own kids to ever have to go to a war.

    I guess it is what it is.

    I wonder how many wars we’d have if people stopped long enough to ask a simple question – Would this be worth my son or daughter’s life?

    I’m guessin we might have fewer.

    But, not many politicians (there are a few, but not many) have sons or daughters in the military.

    I grew up in Austin – during the Vietnam War…a liberal town, and used to fold papers (for my paper route each day), so I read the news – every day as a kid….I remember that war like it was yesterday…in the paper, on the news….

    I also had a lot of kids in my school who had dads in the military, and I learned to appreciate the sacrifice those families made – In fact, as soon as I got close to one of those kids, there family was up and moving (again)…I got to meet their parents….And, grew to respect their families a great deal.

    So, I saw it from both sides in many ways, which is always the best way (in my opinion) to see anything in life.

    I also remember the way those young men and women were treated when they got home too….and, it was disgusting!

    For the war, against it….These are our brothers and sisters, our own sons and daughters – That’s how I see it.


  2. well at this point the VA is hardly giving appropriate treatment either…it’s really a nightmare all around for these poor men and women.

    and most of them are kids when they join the service…they don’t even know what the heck they are getting into…it’s really a tragedy on so many levels.

  3. That’s so fucking horrible. Pardon my language. To be denied the correct diagnosis… I mean, okay benefits are one thing. But what about getting the right sort of treatment? That’s paramount to recovery, and the longer one suffers from PTSD, the more effort you need to dislodge it. Unbelievable.

    I’m so glad he recorded that conversation!

  4. I took it as they are not being given a diagnoses of PTSD simply so the Govn’t did no have to provide medical assistance – not necessarily a medication thing.

  5. Would they be PUT on psyche meds? I pray that they get the help they need thru whatever means they can. God bless them and hold them in His hands. Thank you for your service to our country.

  6. – soldiers had not seen enough trauma to have “serious PTSD issues.” –

    This just makes me…. sick.

    Here we have men and women putting their lives on the line, yet our country doesn’t want to give them the assistance they need for their efforts.

    Also, I would like to know what the scale is for “enough trauma”.

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