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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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New Post Defining A Stressor


I guess the old links dont work.

These are notes from a SVR show I did that might help:

Definition of a Stressor:

The VA defines a stressor based on the DMS –IV (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) thus:

“the person experienced,witnessed,or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threathened death or serious injury,or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and the person’s response involved intense fear,helplessness, or horror.”

A stressor also involves having persistent traumatic re- occurences of the event- such as flashbacks, external reminders of the stressor, distressing dreams of the stressor etc.

Many avoidance efforts as to avoidance of thoughts, people, places that remind of the stressor , and often a feeling of detachment.

The full gamut of PTSD symptoms is found within the DSM IV Manual and VA uses this manual as a guideline to diagnose PTSD.

When I worked with the PTSD group at a Vet Center, the vets always would say ‘before,during, and after’-to define how tremendously they changed due to the Vietnam War.(as well as the whole country-these vets came back to a much different America then they left.)

The changes in their behavior and reactions, sleep patterns and interactions with family and friends were symptomatic of PTSD.

Also the VA considers some events as part of the nature of warfare and not stressors.I have seen statements like that in BVA decisions.

If a combat vet say ‘I saw dead people during the war ’, this does not raise to stressor level as it is part of the nature of warfare.

If the vet however says ‘my buddy blew up in a land mine explosion’, that is a stressor and the VA can verify , with the Unit reports and deceased veteran’s name, that the veteran has a confirmed stressor.

“We took incoming’ – a usual nature of warfare-not a stressor

“Our unit lost 3 men during incoming at Danang in 1966 and one man was Sgt ---- who I knew ----.and I had to help them put these men into body bags. A stressor which can be confirmed.

‘Hanoi Hannah said we would be overcome by the weekend.’ Not a stressor.She lied all the time.

The enemy overtook our camp by the weekend and I had my first kill. A stressor- which unit reports could prove.

‘There was a horrific accident on the runway and they say 20 men were lost ‘. not a stressor

“I participated in recovery ops after there had been a terrible plane accident at the airport in Danang.20 men had died and no one survived.” A stressor that could be proven by the veteran’s MOS and unit reports.

Sometimes a veteran will not give the VA enough details as to the stressor and how it affected them.

This is just a pretty generic description of stressors but the VA holds to the DSM as to how they describe them.

Although the most difficult thing a PTSD can do is to recall in detail stressful events-whether stateside or in combat- as there are MANY reasons a veteran can have stressors and PTSD that have nothing to do with combat-
it is often the details that VA needs in order to confirm what the veteran described was consistent with the circumstances .

An example of what I mean is Swann V. Brown. The veteran was working at a USAF refueling air base in Vietnam and the air base was attacked by mortars.

He claimed this as a combat stressor.
The CAVC found that this did not constitute " engaging in combat" as the veteran could not prove he was close to the mortars attacks and there had been no casualties.

Buddy statements have to be detailed too.One buddy statement I read that a vet I know got told the VA the exact detailed circumstances of the stressor, and how the buddy could verify that the claimant veteran was at this same stressor with him and the buddy even gave VA his C file number and told the VA they could check his C file if needed because he received PTSD comp for this same stressor event. The vet I knew had 6 buddys to contact- mainly to tell them they had received awards from the Vietnamese that they didnt know they got (long story -my daughter translated an Official Vietnamese document and they all got awards, one got the DFC) and ironically one buddy was able to confirm this stressor for one of them (actually the Vietnamese document citations would sure have awarded PTSD too to them all.)
Of 6 buddys =one had died and I think maybe they couldnt find one of them- it took this vet many months but he did reach 4 or 5 of them. This can be done.Buddys can be found.Simply googling their name as well as checking reunion rosters and going to unit web sites has made finding a buddy much easier than it used to be prior to the internet.

A Wall tracing too can be used to verify you lost a buddy in Vietnam. You have to search the Wall via buddy's hometown, unit , approx date of death and name.
Even at the moving Wall -with this information-they can find the exact panel where the Buddy's name is and you can provide a tracing of it as evidence for VA claims.


Also One of our faithful listerners me reminded me to tell you that ALL General Court Martial Records ,if needed to prove PTSD due a personal assault, can be requested and obtained from the Clerk of Court JAG of the specific branch of service in Washington DC.

Also many personal assaults and MST (military Sexual Trauma claims) can be supported by medical records in the SMRs ,of course as well as by eye witness buddy statements as to an “outcry”-a report by the victim to them immediately after this type of event occurred.

Even Personnel records shpwing transfer to a different unit soon after claimed stressor can also support PTSD and personal trauma claims.

To get back to PTSD claims when the veteran was in combat but does not have the PH, CIB or CAR on his/her DD 214.

The vet should apply for a DD 215 as a correction if they feel these awards should be on the DD 214. (DOD Form 149)

Also they can writ to the JSRRC themselves. I advise this even when VA says to thm that JSRRC could not verify their stressor-

Vet recently – this scenario-

All Branches except for Marine Corps-

US Army and Joint Services Records Research Center

7701 Telegraph Rd,Kingman Building Room 2CO8

Alexandria VA. 22315-3802



Go to the Marine Corps University Archive Site http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/MCRCweb/Archive/

Or contact to the Commandant of the Marine Corps

Headquarters USMC Quantico toll free 1-800-268-3710

Fax 11-703-784-5792

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Thanks Aletta.

I rechecked this and need to clarify that if the VA says in a decision that the stressor could not be found nor confirmed by JSRRC, then the veteran should write to JSRRC themselves because I have seen cases whereby the VA didnt even attempt to contact JSRRC and when the vet did , they often got the stressor confirmed.

JSRRC needs as many details as possible.

Dates can be problematic for Vietnam vets. I always ask them if the stressor happened before or after the monsoons, or what they recall was happening in the "world" (USA) at the time, what was Hanoi Hannah talking about that might reveal something in the US they could put a date on,

and the unit histories can often ring a bell.

Another problem with Vietnam veterans claims is that often the Vietnamese places names were Americanized by the troops ..like Marble Mountain and Monkey Mountain.

What sounds like Way is actually HUE,Vietnam

If they get a Vietnamese word for a place, like 'song' mixed up with a trong or dong or duong or bong that too can make placing an event in Vietnam difficult.

An Hoa for example is mega clicks from Hoia An, Vietnam.

And sometimes I have heard a friend of mine say Cu Chi Vietnam but he really meant Chu Lai,big difference there.

Also Unit web sites, as well as branches of the Mil often have complete histories on line too

That is how I found the write up for my husbands Presidental Unit Citation.. He didnt even know he had this award until he got his DD 215.

Sometimes I think every vet should send off a DD 149 to make sure their DD 214 correct.

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Werdich 1. Were you ever actually diagnosed with PTSD and links to stressors? Stressors sound like they are there, but didn't see anything regarding diagnosis or confirmation of in service assault. Not saying it didn't happen not my place. Just saying they would have to verify stressor by reports and have a confirmed diagnosis. ( Not anxiety/ depression/ mdd/ schizophrenic... Etc.. An axis 1 diagnosis of PTSD due to confirmed stressor by jssrc or varo PTSD coordinator. This is not an instigation, but a question. V/r t8r.

0781 is good for this. Provide two month date range along with detail of incident with names.)


Edited by T8r

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My point earlier was that there is no diagnosis if PTSD, and you answered that. Sounds like your strs have the event, but again, no diagnosis. The PTSD coordinator will probably address the issue again and verify information should an actual diagnosis of PTSD come up along with the medical opinion relating it to said event and not something that happened earlier or later. Jmho.

My point earlier was that there is no diagnosis if PTSD, and you answered that. Sounds like your strs have the event, but again, no diagnosis. The PTSD coordinator will probably address the issue again and verify information should an actual diagnosis of PTSD come up along with the medical opinion relating it to said event and not something that happened earlier or later. Jmho.

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“We took incoming’ – a usual nature of warfare-not a stressor

This is the first time I've heard of the phrase "nature of war", doesn't that contridict the new PTSD guidelines?

There is no diagnosis if PTSD,

Does a AXIS I diagnosis of PTSD from the VA mean a nexus has been conceded?

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