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So here it is going on 4 years since I was honorably discharged from the military. Since I have been out, I seem to hit these depressing slumps of missing the military, wishing I could go back in (unable to go back in on account of a medical issue), having adjustment issues to not having the structure in my life as well as I am always "military minded" about how I deal with stress, people, other issues. I expect everyone have the same mentality from my family to my friends. I was treated once for anger issues while in the military, but this depression crap has me completely off the wall at times. I lose control when people make simple mistakes as well as ask me what I consider to be simply self explainable question. Am I even able to explain this to a VA Counselor or psychiatrist and have it service connected? Any input or advice is welcome positive or negative it is appreciated.
jwesley - you absolutely can talk to a counselor about these issues, try and get an appointment and let them know you are seeking treatment for depression and anger. You do not have to be service connected you may have to pay co-pays ask your primary care doc to give you a referral. you do not have to go through this alone.
This Veteran will need 3 things before SC will be granted:
1. Current diagnosis of depression/PTSD
2. In service event or stressor,
3 Nexus, or medical link between 1 and 2.
Unfortuantely, the VA has decided they dont award PTSD without a diagnosis of PTSD BY A VA DOC.
I do think you are correct you can apply for benefits without/before going to see the VA doc, but you wont be getting benefits until you do, at least for PTSD. You could be SC for depression by seeing a non VA doc, but your medical records would need the three things above. Importantly, your private physican may/may not be able to provide a nexus statement that VA accepts. The nexus statment needs to be close to "The Veterans depression is at least as likely as not due to xxx event while in the military, and then the doc must give a "medical rationale" as to why the doctors makes this opinion/conclusion. VA docs are familiar with how to write a VA nexus (even tho some dont like to do that), but private docs are much less familiar on how to help you get SC for depression, even tho they may be on board to help you.
If your doctor makes a stametent like, "This veterans depression could be caused by xx event in military service", this is a deal killer statement. VA considers "could" or "might" as speculative. It has to be in the format of "at least as likely as not", or similar, at a minimum, for service connection.
Remember, VA compensates you for "symptoms" of mental health disorders, not "diagnosis" of the disorder. And, if your condition is asymptomatic, you wont get any compensation for it.
From a practical standpoint, you should seek both treatment and compensation at the same time. You should also be seen for a VA doc to evaluate/rule out/ diagnose PTSD, and only a VA doc can do that, at least as far as VA compensation for PTSD is concerned.
I'm not sure but everyone here on hadit has stated a veteran needs a PTSD Diagnose's from the VA MH,
PTSD DSM 5 is the only condition required diagnoses from the VA This falls under the 2010 change.
Also a LCSW MH can give his opinion as to SC.
I think the confusion is we are talking about two different issues:
1. What is required to file a claim
2. What is required to win a claim
I just had my C&P exam on Tuesday, I posted the MyhealtheVet blue button notes on a new thread (Depression C&P Exam, I think).
I was DXd as MDD, recurring this past July, as I only finally reached out for help. So, I had the current DX before I filed my claim. I gathered all the pertinent evidence from my STR and wrote my statement in support of claim and mailed it off last week. Shockingly I got my green card back yesterday, stamped from Monday receipt!!! Must be some kind of record posting and turn around! Anyway, they got it Monday and my exam was Tuesday, whew, just got there!
You do not have to see a counselor to have your condition service connected. If you were treated for anything mental related in service, then just claim "mental condition" when you submit your claim. The VA will request your medical records but mental treatment may not be included, so make sure you specify where you were treated in case further development is required. If any trace of a mental disorder is found within your records, the VA will schedule you for an exam. A copy of this exam and all questions they will ask can be found on the VA's website, labeled as "DBQ" or "Disability Benefits Questionnaire". They will usually ask the examining physician to provide a medical opinion as to whether or not they believe your mental condition is related to service. You can even have a personal psychiatrist/psychologist complete this questionnaire, HOWEVER, they should also specify if the condition is related to your military service.
All mental conditions, to include PTSD, have the same symptoms listed on the exams (which is a major part of how your rating % is determined). So, it won't matter if the physician states you have depression, anxiety, or some other condition. By claiming "mental condition" you are preventing the VA from being "black and white" and potentially denying the claim based on lack of a specific diagnosis of depression within your records.
Claims with 1 or 2 disabilities only will also be processed faster, in most cases.
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